Sask. the health minister responds to claims of a ‘culture of fear. among health care workers

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During the question period on Wednesday, NDP MLA Meara Conway brought up a memo sent to all Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) staff that was leaked on Tuesday, showing the state of Saskatchewan’s hospitals.

“Yesterday, I asked the health minister about his government’s ‘hush memo’ and the culture of fear he’s created in our public health care system,” Conway said.

Conway said as usual, the minister downplayed the situation and said health care workers don’t have anything to fear when it comes to speaking out.

“If that’s the case, then why did the three nurses speaking to CTV News yesterday feel they could only do so anonymously?” Conway asked.

Health Minister Paul Merriman reiterated what he said on Tuesday, saying the memo issued to health care workers was to ensure the proper process takes place when accommodating tours.

“They were clarifying the policy that had existed in place,” he said. “We need to make sure we maintain the integrity of our hospital for privacy issues, security issues, we need those tours to be organized.”

“Nobody is hushing health care workers’ voices.”

Conway said she can see why the minister doesn’t want to talk about the three nurses in the article.

“Why won’t the minister quit with the hush memos and the gag orders and start listening to local voices and get to work fixing our health care system?” she asked.

Merriman said he had the opportunity to tour ERs across the province, sit down with nurses, and be able to have the discussion on how they can improve the health care system.

“I’m having another meeting this Friday with more nurses from emergency rooms to be able to hear their concerns directly,” he said. “They certainly didn’t feel hushed when they approached me.”