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'Aggressive' plan to add, retain healthcare workers announced in Sask.


A four-point action plan with the goal of recruiting and retaining healthcare workers in Saskatchewan has been announced by the provincial government.

The province calls it an aggressive health human resources action plan and said it’s part of it’s four point action plan that was included in the 2022-23 budget.

"Bolstering our healthcare workforce through competitive recruitment efforts is a top priority for our government, and we are expanding on our four-point plan to recruit, train, incentivize and retain healthcare providers to stabilize and steadily grow the provincial workforce," Minister of Health Paul Merriman said in a release.

Merriman said they will market the province globally to make sure people know Saskatchewan is a great place to find healthcare job opportunities, build a career and also enjoy a high quality of life.

The plan will cost the province $60 million over the next several years, a release said.

The four points highlighted by the province are recruit, train, incentivize and retain.

Hundreds of new healthcare workers will be recruited over the next two years, the province said.

That recruitment process will include a mission to the Philippines in the fall.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is currently being negotiated with the Filipino government, according to the province.

There will also be four new health system navigators that will help new international recruits adjust to their new positions and lives in Saskatchewan.

The training process will include an accelerated training, assessment and licensure pathway for internationally educated nurses that includes supports for overseas recruits to settle and start working in the province.

Incentives will include a new program that will include up to $50,000 over three years for a return-to-service agreement for positions the province said are deemed “hard to recruit for.”

"By identifying and assisting with licensing for internationally educated residents living in Saskatchewan, along with welcoming and supporting hundreds of health care recruits over the next two years, and improving awareness of opportunities in the province, we will achieve success,” Merriman said in a release.

To oversee the process, the province said it has launched a new independent Saskatchewan Healthcare Recruitment Agency (SHRA).

The initial board consists of the deputy minister of health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s (SHA) interim CEO.

The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses said it was briefed on the plan just hours before it was made public. 

“This plan is short on having an actual conversation with the front line worker. If we do not have those conversations with registered nurses these plans are not going to be able to come to fruition because they have missed the mark, Saskatchewan Union of Nurses president Tracy Zambory said.

The Saskatchewan NDP meanwhile, said the plan is something the Sask. Party government should have been doing for years.

“Instead, they sat on their hands and made excuses while Saskatchewan’s hospitals were being run into the ground,” Opposition health critic Vicki Mowat said in a release.

The NDP feels the plan is also vague on details and fails to provide concrete strategies that would keep healthcare workers in Saskatchewan, adding retention should be priority number one.

Information on the initiatives will be available online at Top Stories

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