The southwest has seen an influx of health care workers hired as a part of Sask.'s Health Human Resources Action Plan in a little over a year.

The provincial government unveiled the initiative in 2022 and has onboarded over one thousand nursing graduates since December of that year.

Everett Hindley, minister of health and MLA for the City Swift Current, is proud of the progress being made and can see, the positive impact happening in the community.

"We're starting to see some of the benefits here in Swift Current and southwest Sask," said Hindley.

Currently, 300 positions considered hard to recruit have been filled through the Rural and Remote Recruitment Incentive which offers up to $50,000 to new employees in nine various high-priority health positions and is available in 54 rural and remote communities across Sask.

"Including a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, licensed practical nurse, medical radiation technologist, continuing care assistant, registered psychiatric nurse, combined lab and ex-ray techs, medical laboratory techs, and medical laboratory assistants," Hindley noted.

A number of the new hires have come from outside of the province and some from outside of the country, 73 internationally educated nurses from the Philippines have already begun employment in health care in Sask. 

"Here in southwest Sask, there have been a number of new hires in these various occupations filling vacancies and filling gaps here in our neck of the woods," said Hindley. "Since September of 2022 and up until now, we have had 40 new hires in a variety of occupations."

Herbert, Leader, and Maple Creek each have hired three continuing care assistants, four have been hired in Shaunavon, and 18 continuing care assistants have been hired in Swift Current. 

"In addition to that we've also had a lab assistant hired in Swift Current, two licensed practical nurses in Swift Current, five RNs or RPNs hired in Swift Current, and also an RN or RPN in Leader," said Hindley. 

While progress has been made, Hindley recognizes there is more work to do. Sask.'s Health Human Resources Action Plan will continue to be updated with progress monthly. 

"We still have communities and health facilities where there are temporary service disruptions, but it's our goal to get all those positions filled and all those people hired so the people living in those communities have the healthcare they need when they need it," Hindley concluded.