On Thursday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said staffing challenges are preventing Wolseley’s local hospital from reopening, something its mayor said is attributed to low morale.
“If you have a good manager, if you have a good team builder, good team leaders, morale and all the other stuff falls in place. When you have a bad manager or bad morale, the good people go somewhere else and I think that’s what’s been happening,” said Gerald Hill, Wolseley mayor.
After being temporarily shut down about seven months ago, the town of Wolseley is still waiting on the SHA to reopen its emergency services.
In April, several community hospitals throughout Saskatchewan were converted to help prepare and build capacity for any potential surge of COVID-19 cases.
Then in May, the SHA announced plans to reopen emergency departments in several communities, including Wolseley.
“It was supposed to be a temporary measure and was supposed to be open in June and all of a sudden they’re short staffed,” Hill said.
In a release, the SHA said the recruitment of health care workers continues to be a challenge, which is preventing the hospital from reopening.
“The SHA has successfully filled the Combined Lab X-ray Technician (CLXT) position, and is recruiting for Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) positions in order to resume full hospital services in Wolseley. The timing of service resumption will depend on those activities,” said the SHA, in a release.
For several months now, Hill said residents of Wolseley have had to travel several kilometers to surrounding communities like Indian Head or further to Moosomin and Regina.
“It seems that they cannot attract people to come out here,” Hill said.
One of the challenges, he added, has to do with some of the management.
“People in management positions aren’t really qualified to be managers…. not saying there is nepotism going on, but it’s certainly suggested in some cases,” Hill said.
“It’s really frustrating and a common theme in the community and in a lot of communities surrounding us. Until it’s addressed and until there is accountability to the government by SHA for some of this stuff, I don’t see anything changing.”
Hill said he would like to see a top down look at the hospital’s management team, to find out what is really going on.
“I’m not saying everyone is bad. There is some good management and really good workers and they are doing the best they can. It’s just that we would like to move it forward for the safety of our residents,” Hill said.
Global News reached out for further comment, but the SHA reiterated its message in its earlier release and did not address the mayor’s concerns specifically.
In the release, the SHA said a human resource business partner will start in Wolseley at the beginning of November, to work alongside the management team, to allow health care managers to spend more time with staff and clients.
“As an organization, the SHA wants the Wolseley facility to be a place where people want to work,” the release said.
“The SHA fully supports the management team at the Wolseley facility, and their efforts to provide the best care to the people we all serve. Our shared goal is that management and staff are a team working together, each with responsibilities to provide the best care possible to our clients.”
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