Saskatchewan healthcare initiatives are beginning to pay off, with new workers showing up across the province, including in the southwest. 

Since December of last year, 710 new grad nurses from in and out of the province have been hired by the SHA. A set of 250 new and enhanced permanent full-time positions have also been created in rural and remote areas. Now over 200 of those positions have been filled. 

Among those new positions, 30 jobs were approved for posting in southwestern communities, and as of September 28, 21 of these positions have been filled. 

Everett Hindley, Swift Current’s MLA and Saskatchewan Minister of Health, addresses the update while stressing the point that when meeting with healthcare professionals, the need for more staff is clear. 

“Starting this fall we will have 12 physician assistant positions that will be advertised by the SHA and community clinics across the province,” stated Hindley. “They have the opportunity to be part of a healthcare team. They provide services in primary care, but also long-term care, emergency medicine, cancer care, and other areas. They work very closely under the direct supervision of a licensed physician.” 

The long-term strategy of Saskatchewan’s health system also emphasizes on bringing in trained professionals from beyond the province in a timely and cost-efficient manner. 

“There are people that are trained in other countries, but it takes them a very lengthy period of time to get licensed to be able to work in Saskatchewan,” said Hindley. “So that time frame used to be nine months; it's now been shortened to just 14 weeks and we currently have 50 internationally educated nurses that are enrolled in that.” 

A major goal in these efforts is to ensure that population centres in southwest Saskatchewan are able to meet the needs of residents.  

“Places like Swift Current, Shaunavon, Leader, and Maple Creek are vital components of the healthcare system,” he expressed. “Eventually, we need them operating at their full capacity to make sure that we're taking the pressure off our major centers.”