Healthcare Recruitment and Retention
Whereas emergent and acute health care is failing throughout Saskatchewan; and
Whereas the recruitment and retention of health care professionals like RN’s and LPN’s is difficult and has a dramatic effect on the ability to provide emergent and acute health care Province wide; and
Whereas S.H.A. does not allocate sufficient resources towards recruiting and retaining RN’s and LPN’s;
Therefore be it resolved that SUMA advocate the ministers of Health and Rural and Remote Health to have the Saskatchewan Health Authority or independent firm immediately develop and implement a long-term recruiting and retention plan to adequately provide and maintain emergent, acute, and long-term health care throughout all of Saskatchewan hospitals, health centers, and long-term care homes.
ACTS AFFECTED: None
REGION/SECTOR AFFECTED: All
JUN 2 8 2022
Randy Goulden President, SUMA (email@example.com)
Thank you for your letter of April 26, 2022, informing us of the resolutions adopted at the 117th Annual SUMA Convention. We also acknowledge the questions raised by SUMA members and appreciate having this opportunity to respond.
Resolution 2022-016 Health Care Recruitment and Retention
A number of strategies and initiatives will be necessary to meet health human resource needs over the next few years. The Ministries of Health, Advanced Education, and Immigration and Career Training, along with health sector partners, are working to address short-term and long term health human resource challenges.
We are committed to addressing staffing shortages ensuring that Saskatchewan residents have access to publicly funded health services that are timely, appropriate and effective, now and into the future. Our government continues to support the development and advancement of strategies to recruit new staff, manage vacancies, train new specialized providers, and support the health and wellness of all health-care workers.
The Ministry of Health's 2022-23 business plan released on Budget Day outlines a number of key actions that are being taken to ensure an adequate supply of health-care workers across the province. These actions include:
- establishment of the Saskatchewan Healthcare Recruitment Agency, whose sole focus will be recruitment and retention;
- working with the Ministry of Advanced Education on expanding the number of nurse training seats by 150;
- undertaking international recruitment to address some of the province's medium-term staffing shortfalls; and,
- supporting initiatives to specifically address staffing needs in rural and remote areas.
Thank you for bringing forward the concern regarding access to physician services in Warman. Premier Scott Moe, Terry Jenson, MLA for Martensville-Warman, and both of us met with doctors from Martensville and Warman to discuss solutions to remedy the situation.
The number of licensed physicians in the province is increasing; however, there may be situations or instances of local vacancies or gaps. We are aware of ongoing physician shortages in Warman and continue to work with our partners in the Saskatchewan Health Authority, as well as community leaders and area clinics to explore methods to support the community.
The Ministry of Health has historically supported targeted post-graduate training positions in family medicine in exchange for a return-of-service (ROS) to a rural or regional community. These agreements exclude bedroom communities due to their proximity to large urban centres (i.e. Lumsden, Pilot Butte, Balgonie, White City, Pense, Martensville, Warman, Langham, Clavet, Dalmeny and Delisle). Changes were made in 2016 to the ROS program to allow residents training in urban family medicine programs (Regina or Saskatoon) to apply to practise in "underserved" locations as approved by the Ministry. This may apply to bedroom communities in urban centres. While these underserved practices are reviewed annually, residents who have trained under the urban ROS contracts are currently able to apply to work in locations such as Warman.
Please know that physician recruitment and retention are top priorities for our government. The 2022-23 Budget includes an additional $3.5 million to expand and enhance programming targeted to recruiting and retaining physicians. This funding includes expanded residency seats, increased SIPPA (Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment) placements and new mentorship and a support program to help address long-term retention of physicians who have been assessed through SIPPA.
The SHA, Ministry of Health and other health system partners are working together to support ongoing recruitment efforts across the province. Saskdocs, our physician recruitment agency within the SHA, has a number of strategies in place to recruit and retain physicians, focusing primarily on University of Saskatchewan recruitment, Canadian recruitment, international recruitment, and physician retention. Areas of need are identified and strategies, such as job postings, career fairs, and reaching out to medical students and residents, are used to recruit to these positions.
With respect to the question regarding no-cost psychological help, the Ministry of Health ensures that mental health and addictions services provided through the Saskatchewan Health Authority are free for Saskatchewan citizens. Where there is a need for additional support, residents can contact their local mental health and addictions in-take service.
The following link is helpful in guiding clients to their local mental health and addictions in-take service: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/mental-health-and-covid-19/mental-health-and-addictions-intake-and-family-service-saskatchewan-walk-in-counselling
Our government is committed to providing all Saskatchewan residents, including those in rural and remote communities, with timely access to emergency medical services (EMS). The SHA strives to provide patients with exceptional care across the geographic expanse of the province.
The Ministry of Health provides global funding to the SHA for the delivery of services and programs throughout the province, including EMS and first response. Through this funding, the SHA is responsible for evaluating and determining the health-care needs and resources that are required in all its communities. As patients' needs change, it is important for the SHA to determine the services that are required.
The Ministry and SHA are aware of the challenges within the EMS system and are currently working on a multi-year EMS stabilization plan to address staffing issues in a number of communities across the province. In the meantime, the SHA continues its recruitment efforts for a number of EMS services in the province, including the community of Kyle.
As part of the recently announced Budget, we are providing additional funding to support and stabilize rural ground EMS within the province. These investments include:
- $7.3 million in annual funding to provide additional paramedics and ambulance resources in 27 communities across the province deemed most critical by the SHA;
- $653,000 in annual funding to enhance the community paramedicine program in a number of rural and northern communities; and
- $593,000 in support of enhancement of the medical first responder (MFR) program, including the recruitment of additional MFRs, training and education, administrative support and equipment.
It is the role of the Director of EMS to assist individuals with questions or concerns, and ensure that communities are informed about ambulance services provided within the province.
Questions about ambulance service in Kyle can be directed to Krista Remeshylo, Director of EMS and Provincial First Responder Program for the SHA. Ms. Remeshylo can be reached by calling 306-948-3323 ext. 2773 or by emailing Krista.Remeshylo@saskhealthauthority.ca.
Paul Merriman, Minister of Health
Everett Hindley, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health