Health authority withdraws request for proposals to create whistleblower hotline

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says the request for proposals to provide a whistleblower hotline has been withdrawn.

The SHA confirmed the move in an email to media late Wednesday afternoon.

“The request for rroposals to provide a WhistleBlower Hotline service has been withdrawn to allow the Saskatchewan Health Authority to conduct further internal work on disclosure policies,” reads the email.

The change comes on the same day union representatives launched sharp criticism of the proposed hotline and how it was being rolled out.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees said the hotline would be an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money, would duplicate existing complaint processes and would be an ‘insult to staff’.

“Health dollars would be better invested in front-line services, like adequate staffing levels, new infrastructure, and equipment,” said Sandra Seitz, president of CUPE Local 5430 in a news release.

Union officials also said they were blindsided by the initiative when they learned of it.

On Monday, the SHA said the work on the hotline was being done as the organization develops a whistleblower policy and was not being developed as a result of a specific incident. It also said a policy review is taking place across the SHA.

The organization says patient care is a priority, as well as the staff who provide it.

“While the work is underway there are currently mechanisms available to staff and public to raise concerns about the care received,” the SHA said in an email on Wednesday.