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Sask. health minister says alleged racism at Regina hospital under third party review


Saskatchewan New Democrats say they're worried the province’s recruitment and retention of health-care professionals will suffer following allegations of racism and discrimination at a Regina hospital.

The topic of a recent report by CTV News, 10 foreign-trained internal medicine specialists at Regina's General Hospital filed a human rights complaint on Oct. 5.

The complaint alleges a toxic work environment which included discrimination as well as bullying and intimidation by some hospital administrators.

All doctors who signed the complaint were trained in either Africa or Asia and say they lost preferential shifts and teaching duties.

“We that are people of colour got zero of most of the positions that used to be more or less evenly distributed amongst everybody, as in zero,” Dr. Olu Ogundare – an internal medicine specialist at the hospital – told CTV News.

The Official Opposition says the optics of the allegations will severely harm Saskatchewan’s reputation and ability to recruit much-needed health-care professionals.

“Imagine foreign health care workers looking up work conditions in this province and finding this story. They can go anywhere. Will they want to work here?” Immigration critic Noor Burki asked during question period.

“It is that minister’s job to deal with these problems immediately. Instead he let it become a story for the whole world to see.”

Minister of Health Everett Hindley made the government’s stance on the issue clear.

“There is absolutely no room for racism in health care or frankly anywhere in Saskatchewan,” he told the assembly on Monday.

Hindley says he’s had discussions about the issue with senior leadership both at the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).

“It’s also my understanding that the SHA has launched a third-party review or investigation into what has happened in this particular circumstance,” he added.

The opposition agreed with Hindley’s sentiments.

“I’m really thankful to the minister. He said right away and properly that there is no place for racism in our province. Which is great,” Burki told reporters. “… We need doctors. We need nurses. We need a lot of skillful people … so we need to make sure we take this kind of thing seriously.”

In recent years – the Government of Saskatchewan has doubled down on its recruitment efforts abroad – with a hiring push in the Philippines earlier this year.

“We have health care workers from across the globe coming to Saskatchewan to work here in our province … they are such valuable health care workers,” he said.

“We do take this matter very, very seriously.”

According to the SHA’s most recent annual report – more than 2,700 practitioners and 475 resident doctors work in the province’s health care system.

With files from Avis Favaro. Top Stories

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