Sask Hospital woes still a hot topic in QP

The continued woes of the new Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford were back in Question Period in the legislature this week.

On Tuesday, Saskatoon Riversdale MLA Danielle Chartier roasted Minister of Central Services Ken Cheveldayoff about the issue. That exchange, reproduced here in full, was recorded in Hansard.

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Chartier: —Thank you, mister . . . Mr. Speaker. It’s been a little while since I’ve asked a question. Saskatchewan people are concerned that their brand new hospital has so many problems: a roof that leaks, water that you can’t drink, and we’ve heard reports of water damage closing wards. My question to the minister: have there been any other problems with this brand new Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford that the people of this province should know about?

The Speaker: —I recognize the Minister of Central Services.

Hon. Mr. Cheveldayoff: —Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the member for the question. Again as I’ve said in this House before, the Government of Saskatchewan’s number one priority is ensuring the safety and well-being of patients, staff, and visitors to the hospital. It’s a well-known fact that the hospital has had some challenges, but we are doing a complete audit and making sure that everything is looked at. I assure the members of the House that this is a top priority for the government, and it continues to ensure that we find out all of the answers.

The Speaker: —I recognize the member for Saskatoon Riversdale.

Ms. Chartier: —These closures and problems aren’t just inconveniences for hospital staff and current patients. They mean fewer patients are able to get the care they need. We received written questions that showed the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford admitted fewer patients last year than the year before, a total of 13 patients, Mr. Speaker, despite many, many people being on the referral list.

We know that, with the crisis in mental health and addictions in our province, there’s no shortage of people who desperately need help. How many people are going without the treatment and support they need because of the problems plaguing this new hospital?

The Speaker: —I recognize the Minister of Central Services.

Hon. Mr. Cheveldayoff: —Thank you very much again, Mr. Speaker, for the question of the member opposite. Again her facts aren’t entirely correct. There was 18 individuals admitted. And I can tell you that the work that’s been done in the admissions office, yes it had to be moved to a new area, but it has not impeded it...

[Interjections]

The Speaker: —Order, please. I recognize the minister.

Hon. Mr. Cheveldayoff: —Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Admissions have not been impeded in any way because of the situation at the hospital at this time.

The Speaker: —I recognize the member for Saskatoon Riversdale.

Ms. Chartier: —Mr. Speaker, those were this government’s tabled numbers from the spring sitting. And just to be clear there, people who’ve been in the hospital more than three . . . in acute psychiatric facilities waiting to get into that hospital, you look at people who’ve been admitted more than three times — it was more than 200 people in the last fiscal year, Mr. Speaker. Those are people who could benefit from longer term acute psychiatric care.

Last week the Health minister said there would be an audit of the Sask Hospital and the problem so far, and the minister spoke of that. We’ve seen this movie before with the GTH [Global Transportation Hub]. The Sask Party launches an audit with a narrow scope and then claims afterward that the audit found no wrongdoing. Will the facility audit of the Sask Hospital North Battleford have free range to look at all the issues with this hospital, including how these problems have impacted patient care? And will it look to see if the materials used in the brand new hospital were chosen because they were right for the job and not just because they were the cheapest the P3 [public-private partnership] consortium could find?

The Speaker: —I recognize the Minister of Central Services.

Hon. Mr. Cheveldayoff: —Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I can assure the member opposite that this will be a complete and full audit, and all information will be brought forward. But I also remind the member opposite that indeed we are talking about a hospital. Yes, it’s having some challenges, but we do have a state-of-the-art hospital to talk about. If the NDP were still in government, they’d be talking about doing a hospital but they just didn’t quite get it done. What about a children’s hospital, Mr. Speaker? They just quite didn’t get it done, Mr. Speaker.

So yes, you know, this hospital, I can tell the members opposite, it does have increased mental health services. It has a gymnasium. It has a workout facility, Mr. Speaker. It has a chapel. It has a First Nations healing lodge. All things that wouldn’t be there if the NDP had an opportunity to continue in government. The Sask Party is getting it done, and we ensure the people of Saskatchewan that this facility will be functioning at utmost authority in the near future.

 

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