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Sask. minister expects new health dollars to enhance existing programs


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Well being Minister Paul Merriman says infusion of federal funds will assist efforts to recruit extra healthcare employees.

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Saskatchewan’s well being minister known as a funding deal introduced Wednesday between the province and the federal authorities “a superb alternative” for Ottawa to extend its contribution to the health-care system.

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“Once more, it isn’t sufficient. Premier (Scott) Moe and all of the premiers have been united in saying that. However, it’s laborious to show down federal {dollars}. It’s simply not precisely the quantity we have been searching for,” Well being Minister Paul Merriman instructed reporters.

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The deal will see Saskatchewan get a one-time funding of $61 million by the feds, meant to alleviate speedy health-care challenges. The province will then obtain a further $111 million in every of the following 10 years. Merriman stated the province sought assurances that it may tailor the funding to Saskatchewan’s wants.

Merriman famous the provinces have collectively requested Ottawa to fund 35 per cent of health-care prices, and this deal doesn’t attain that focus on. He cautioned that incoming cash gained’t instantly lead to drastic change, as he contrasted the incoming $61 million with over $6 billion in provincial health-care spending.

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Somewhat, Merriman stated he expects the brand new {dollars} to boost or velocity up beforehand introduced packages, such because the $60 million human sources technique launched in 2022 with the aim of including 1,000 new healthcare employees, together with 200 new nurses to be recruited from the Philippines.

Requested how progress in assembly targets shall be measured and reported, Merriman stated step one would be the creation of what’s known as an motion plan.

“We’ve to develop a plan with the federal authorities, they usually’re giving us the cash, in order that they wish to know what the cash is being spent on, and we’re going to supply that,” Merriman stated. He expects the doc to incorporate the human sources technique, and different beforehand introduced measures just like the addition of 550 new seats throughout 18 post-secondary coaching packages for health-care employees.

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Merriman stated the province will proceed sharing common health-care knowledge with the federal authorities, corresponding to numbers of surgical procedures. Requested about issues in some circles that the deal would contain sharing private well being data with Ottawa, or the creation of de facto “digital ID,” Merriman stated federal officers by no means requested for any such knowledge, and added that the province wouldn’t have offered it if it was requested.

Noting that staffing is the most important problem presently in well being care, Merriman stated efforts are ongoing to streamline the method of getting foreign-trained employees to Canada and getting them correctly credentialed.

In the long term, Merriman stated discovering extra environment friendly and revolutionary methods to ship well being care is the topic of ongoing discussions.

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“It’s not essentially that Ottawa goes to give you concepts on tips on how to create a greater or extra environment friendly system; these are going to return from our frontline health-care employees,” he stated, including that there’s in depth communication between the totally different provinces to share and adapt finest practices.

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