Since January 26th, three different government releases have shown a look into Saskatchewan's different strategies surrounding healthcare when it comes to the province's Health Human Resources (HHR) Action Plan and attempts to recruit, train, incentivize and retain staff.
The hiring of health care professionals has seen some recent progress as more health care workers are on track to join Saskatchewan's healthcare system.
According to the release, Registered Nurses from the Philippines who received conditional offers have begun working their way through the RN Pathway which includes language, bridging education and licensing. Over 160 job offers have been made to Filipino health care workers including Registered Nurses (RNs), Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs) and Medical Lab Assistants. One CCA started working and settled in Moose Jaw in December.
Shortly after that announcement it came out that Saskatchewan would be significantly expanding healthcare training opportunities.
An investment of more than $5.5 million will help create over 550 new post-secondary training seats across 18 health care training programs. Training programs set to expand in the fall include Medical Laboratory Assistant, Continuing Care Assistant, Primary Care Paramedic, Licensed Practical Nurse, Pharmacy Technician, Clinical Psychologist, Physical Therapist and Mental Health and Addictions Counsellor.
Finally, the province is looking at ways to increase residents access to health services as well.
They are looking at enhancing the scope of practice for pharmacists, nurse practitioners and advanced care paramedics in the hopes of reducing wait times. Some examples of potential changes could include allowing paramedics to stitch minor wounds or cuts rather than heading to emergency, allowing Nurse Practitioners admitting and discharging privileges in hospitals, and also bringing the potential for independent prescribing for pharmacists.
Healthcare is a hot topic here in Saskatchewan, and will likely continue to be for the opposition ahead of next year's provincial election.