In its latest move to deal with a looming $1-billion deficit, the Saskatchewan government is offering voluntary separation packages to all of the top-ranking officials in the province’s 12 health regions.

There are currently 12 CEOs and about 62 vice-presidents across the province. Saskatchewan’s new health region will only need one CEO and fewer senior leadership positions when the existing regions combine later this year. The exact number of positions still hasn’t been determined by the province.

According to the government, the fates of officials who don’t take voluntary packages will be evaluated once the buyout process is complete.

“Once we understand who has expressed an interest, we will be assessing that,” Tracey Smith, assistant deputy minister for the Ministry of Health, said Monday. “We also have to take into consideration the operational needs to the health regions and the fact that we definitely need leadership in the regions, particularly in this time of change.”

The NDP says they’ve been calling on the government for years to address the administration in the health region and the number of upper-level positions that have grown under the current government.

“You look to RQHR, where they’ve seen in about a three-year period a 46 per cent growth in upper-level management in executives,” NDP health critic Danielle Chartier said.

Health region employees were offered the packages on Feb. 15 and have until early March to decide if they will take them.

The ministry says they expect the single health region to be implemented in the fall.

With files from CTV's Cally Stephanow