The COVID-19 pandemic is definitely pulling on
Saskatchewan’s health care human resources.
“We have over 2,000 people in our six labour pools across
the province, and over 1,000 of them have been deployed to work in other parts
of the province, while the other half continue to do their important work
within their usual facility,” said Dean Biesenthal with Saskatchewan Health
Authority’s Workforce Planning and Employment Strategies unit.
The labour pools were created to meet the demands of the
changing service delivery environment within the Saskatchewan Health Authority
(SHA) during the pandemic, to make it easier and more efficient to reallocate
health care workers to different parts of the province, depending on demand.
Human Resources teams are not only finding staff to deploy
to areas of outbreak to fill shifts left by the employees needing to
self-isolate, they are looking after the logistics of moving them to some
isolated areas, where services and accommodations are far different than they
are in urban parts of the province. This is in addition to filling new
positions created by the pandemic at testing, treatment and assessment centres,
as well as conducting screening at various sites around the province.
“It’s been an eye-opening experience for many of us,”
Biesenthal noted. “But our team has been unbelievable. When the outbreak at
Prince Albert’s Victoria Hospital was declared, we had less than a day to fill
116 shifts left empty by staff needing to self-isolate. It was a
near-impossible task. But the team did it. By the next morning, 112 of the 116
shifts had been filled, all while we were also supporting outbreaks in La Loche
The SHA would like to express
its appreciation to all staff members who have been working so hard throughout
the COVID-19 pandemic - in their existing positions and redeployed
positions. Everyone has been working incredibly hard in difficult circumstances
to provide the best possible care to the people of Saskatchewan. You should all
be proud of your efforts and the results they have created.