Omicron has caused a 30% jump in Sask. health care worker absences
Saskatoon hospitals are experiencing "historic" patient flow challenges, a Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) official says.
The SHA had seen capacity challenges even before the pandemic and had been working through strategies to improve patient flow within hospitals and the transition of patients from hospital to the community, Acting Vice President, Infrastructure, Information and Support Derek Miller said in a media call.
"With Omicron, with the with the pandemic in general, it has had an impact on our health system in terms of our staff, the number of vacancies that we've had and being able to keep up with providing those essential services."
In a regular week, the SHA sees about 12 to 13 per cent of its workforce reporting an unplanned absence, which is mostly sick leave, he said.
That number is now up to 17 per cent — about a 30 per cent increase — which is attributed to Omicron and staff either testing positive themselves or having to care for a child, or a similar situation. The first week in January saw about 1,000 people off for pandemic-related reasons, he said.
"And so that does have an impact across our services and this is spread across sites around the province. It has had an impact in terms of how we're able to deliver services. Often we're seeing staff having to work short, we're seeing some of our management team actually have to participate or work on the floor either in care environments or in some of our support areas
"We're also seeing it on the patient side as well where we are seeing cancellations and so on of different outpatient services due to patients becoming positive or having to isolate or what have you. So we are doing our very best and just want to commend the health care worker teams out there for all they're doing. Once again, we're calling on them to respond to these unprecedented pandemic times."
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