The new Saskatchewan budget delivers the largest-ever increase in health-care funding to expand patient care and services.

According to a release, this year’s Ministry of Health budget is $7.6 billion, an increase of $726.4 million which is a 10.6 per cent increase from last year. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will receive a $248.3 million, or 5.6 per cent, increase for a total highest-ever budget of $4.68 billion.

Saskatchewan’s health minister says that this year’s health budget sets a high benchmark for delivering improved patient care to residents within communities across the province. According to the budget, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency will see an increase of $26.1 million for a total record budget of $248.9 million.

“When it comes to breast health and in Saskatchewan that when it comes to women’s health in Saskatchewan, steps have been taken,” said Health Minister Everett Hindley.

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“I have faith in our health care workers and our health care teams, and things are going to continue to get better when it comes to health care in this province.”

The province will invest in cancer-care services for Saskatchewan women as $3.5 million will be allocated for breast cancer care and screening initiatives. This investment will support technology enhancements, new diagnostic imaging equipment and also a new breast health centre in Regina.

The province stated they are investing on recruitment and getting the surgical waitlist to meet the three-month goal. In the budget, $11.9 million is set aside for internationally trained health-care workers and $3.5 million increase for surgical programs.


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The province stated they are investing on recruitment and getting the surgical waitlist to meet the three-month goal. In the budget, $11.9 million is set aside for internationally trained health-care workers and a $3.5 million increase for surgical programs.

“The new budget for reducing surgical wait list (and) reducing the surgical wait times,” Minister Hindley said. “We are seeing a reduction in the average wait times for hip surgeries, (and) a reduction of the average wait times for knee surgeries (and) when it comes to cancer care.”

Bashir Jalloh, president of CUPE Health Care Workers at Saskatchewan Health Authority, said every year, there has been a slight increase in the health care budget.

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“It’s been a lot of the same work we had in the past about building more hospitals and recruiting people in health care,” said Jalloh. “If you are going to build more places and if you can’t staff it, then there’s a problem.”

Jalloh said recruitment should not only be the focus for retaining more health-care workers but to focus on retention. He added the province needs to need improve the working conditions so people can stay.

“If you just focus on recruitment without focusing on retention, people will come and then they will leave,” he said. “We have the urgent health care center that has been built in Regina. The problem we are having now is to staff that building.”

Here’s a rundown of some of the other measures to province is taking to improve care and access:

  • $7.5 million increase to enhance emergency medical services across the province
  • $4.5 million increase to stabilize and enhance neurology/cardiology services
  • $2.5 million increase for kidney health and organ and tissue donation programs
  • $2.2 million increase for children’s care (NICU, Prince Albert Hospital pediatrics unit, and pediatric gastroenterology program
  • $2.0 million in new funding to expand Saskatchewan’s robot-assisted surgery program in Regina

The Saskatchewan health budget will see a $29.2 million increase for the Saskatchewan’s Health Human Resources Action Plan (HHR Action Plan), and this includes $11.6 million to add 250 new or enhanced permanent full-time positions in rural and remote areas of the province.

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“Stabilizing and strengthening the important health care services that rural communities rely on continues to be a high priority for our government,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Tim McLeod stated in a release. “While our Health Human Resources Action Plan is seeing success, we know that there is more work to be done, and Budget 2024-25 makes significant investments in continuing that work.”

Mental Health and Addictions

This year’s budget for mental health initiatives with an investment of $574 million which includes $34 million in new funding to expand services and improve mental health and addictions care for Saskatchewan people. The province stated that they will have a “significant investment” of $4.7 million with a strong focus on youth.

“This includes $1 million to expand the Mental Health Capacity Building Program in schools, $150,000 for Prenatal Outreach and Response Teams through the Sanctum Care Group and $120,000 for Saskatchewan youth homes,” according to the budget.

The budget will also provide a $29.2 million increase for targeted initiatives to address addictions and vulnerable populations, the release read.

Global News will provide further details.

 

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