A recent protest in front of his office has prompted Swift Current's MLA to respond.

Swift Current MLA and Minister of Health, Everett Hindley, recently missed a protest that took place in front of his Central Avenue North office in Swift Current.

Health care workers from SEIU-West Union had over 100 people out in the light rain, speaking out against the province's bragging of medical funding while they, the employees, feel none of their staffing needs are being met.  

For Hindley, these issues are something close to his heart as he has long been involved in Sask. health care. Before serving as the Minister of Health, he served as the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health from Nov. 2020 to Aug. 2023. 

"I've taken an opportunity to be able to travel across the province, tour health care facilities, and meet with frontline health care providers," said Hindley. "What I've done is asked them what their concerns are, what's working for them in our health care system, and how can we as a government better support them." 

One of the results of those efforts is the launching of the 2022 Four Point Health Human Resources Action Plan. This program aimed to recruit, train, incentivize and retain healthcare workers while addressing the concerns brought forward.  

Hindley stated that he hoped the hiring needs of medical centres across Sask., including those of Swift Current, could be met as soon as possible. He states that the issue is not unique to Swift Current or even Sask.  

"I think there's a shortage of health care workers right across the country right now," said Hindley. "You see other provinces struggling with this as well." 

SEIU-West expressed concerns over the hiring of temporary travelling nurses. These high-cost stop gaps in the shortage place an added burden on the budget, which is dollars that could go into full-time positions which would help eliminate some of the pressures being experienced by local workers.  

"Using contract nurses, that is not the ideal solution," admitted Hindley. "But it's a short-term solution to make sure that we're minimizing the amount of temporary service disruptions that we do have." 

SEIU-West members will have to vote on a new contract later this year. If they don't receive answers to their problems, it's a possibility that the Sask. government will be facing job action like the STF recently.  

"I just would say that we respect the collective bargaining process," said Hindley. "We want to ensure that we can reach a deal at the bargaining table that would be recognizing the concerns that are being brought forward."  

For now, Hindley is working at filling those positions and finding more qualified health professionals to bring to Swift Current and other communities in Sask.