Overtime, contracted nursing positions large contributors to overall deficit
Contract nurses and overtime hours are two major factors that have led to a $1.08 million forecast operating deficit in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region
© Photo by Bradley Ruszkowski
The Prince Albert Parkland Health Region is facing a deficit of nearly $1.08 million for 2015-16.
According to the latest financial report presented to the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region board of directors, the health region is forecasting a deficit of $1,079,994 based on results as of Dec. 31, 2015.
The health region’s fiscal year ends in April.
PAPHR communications officer Doug Dahl responded to questions about the recent financial statement via email.
He noted that vacant positions and workload issues have been the reason for use of overtime and contract positions.
“Workload issues include significant overcapacity challenges at the Victoria Hospital, as well as requirements for additional staff on occasion in other areas,” he wrote.
Other areas included additional staff needed in long-term care and the mental health inpatient unit, where more complex care is needed for patients.
In order to address the deficit in the coming year, the health region continues to emphasize the need to fill vacant positions when regular staff is away on vacation and sick leave.
Dahl added, “reducing the reliance on overtime and contract agencies to fill vacant positions/shifts is vital to ensuring long-term financial sustainability.”
Vacancies in PAPHR
At the moment there are 164 vacancies in the health region at last update on Feb. 26. The list of vacancies is updated weekly.
Out of the vacancies, 89 are temporary positions, Dahl wrote, which are difficult to fill without a guarantee of work beyond a specific date.
“Temporary positions are mostly caused by staff on leaves of absence,” he wrote. “Staff members retain the right to come back to that same position as per their collective bargaining agreement.”
Other leaves of absence include medical, parental and education leave.
There are 41 vacant permanent full time positions and 34 permanent part time positions.
Increase in sick time, salaries over budget
The financial report stated that the use of sick time hours also increased by 5.78 per cent in 2015-16 fiscal year compared to the year prior.
One of the contributing factors to increased sick time usage is due to overtime hours.
“Excessive overtime often leads to more sick time usage,” Dahl wrote.
Salaries are also over budget by $2.75 million, according to the latest financial statement.
Use of overtime filling vacant positions and workload requirements have contributed to the over budget, Dahl wrote.
Another part of the over budget is due to a contract settlement with the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan, which included a back pay that was not included in the original budget.
Expenditures over budget $4.96 million
Expenditures in the health region are also over budget by $4,965,228 million for the year.
Dahl explained that increased staff cost and the use of contract nurses can account for 75 per cent of the over budget.
The region also saw an increase in revenues of $3,548,532, which would cover a significant portion of the increased expenditures, Dahl wrote.
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