Released on October 24, 2022
The Saskatchewan Health Human Resources (HHR) Action Plan is showing solid progress on important initiatives that are directly addressing challenges experienced in the health sector, such as staff recruitment.
Recruitment and retention of health care staff is critical and directly connected to providing safe, reliable and accessible services to Saskatchewan people, including acute and emergency care. Recent recruitment success has resulted in the resumption of health care services in certain Saskatchewan communities including La Ronge, Assiniboia and Biggar.
“I am pleased with the progress that has been made on each of the four pillars of our aggressive Health Human Resources Action Plan as we work to recruit, train, incentivize and retain more health care workers,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said. “We will invest over $60 million and add more than 1000 health professionals into the health system over the next few years to address current challenges, stabilize health services across the province and build a stronger, health care workforce.”
Progress is being made under each of the four pillars of Saskatchewan’s Health Human Resources Action Plan:
- The Saskatchewan Health Authority has received over 3,500 applications for the positions the province is looking to recruit to from the Philippines.
- Nearly 400 applications have been received following a call for Internationally Educated Health-care Professionals (IEHPs) from Saskatchewan and Canada who may qualify for future training or employment in the province, with nearly 30 applications received from Ukrainian newcomers including three physician candidates.
- Four new health system navigators will come onboard in November to assist in the recruitment and retention of internationally educated health care workers.
- Later this fall, provincial government officials will lead a health care recruitment mission to the Philippines to promote available work opportunities. This will include signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of the Philippines on the recruitment of Filipino health care professionals, as well as recruitment and hiring events for prospective candidates.
- A traditional and social media campaign has begun in the Philippines. The largest media outlets have published news of Saskatchewans recruitment efforts and a Facebook post reached over 75,000 people in one day.
- As of September, 150 new training seats were introduced and successfully implemented, including:
- 10 nurse practitioner training seats – five in the collaborative nurse practitioner program jointly delivered by Saskatchewan Polytechnic and the University of Regina and five in the University of Saskatchewan nurse practitioner program;
- 124 registered nursing seats – 62 in the Saskatchewan Polytechnic/University of Regina collaborative program and 62 in the University of Saskatchewan program; and
- 16 registered psychiatric nursing seats in the Saskatchewan Polytechnic program.
- To support training and retaining physicians, residency seats at the College of Medicine have been expanded by eight for a total of 128.
- The number of seats for the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program has increased to 45 seats.
- Applications are now open for the new incentive program of up to $50,000 over three years for a return-of-service agreement to attract new employees to targeted positions in rural and remote areas which will benefit up to 115 new healthcare workers.
- The Ministry of Health is seeing increased interest in the clinical placement bursary program, with 105 clinical bursaries approved this year, the highest number in more than four years.
- The SHA recently completed the posting of 125 new, full-time, frontline health care positions and over 50 existing part-time positions which are being enhanced to full-time. These new and enhanced positions span 49 communities across the province. These opportunities have been promoted to thousands of professionals both within and outside of Saskatchewan on social media.
- The SHA is developing new mentorship and additional peer-to-peer well-being and resiliency programming.
- The SHA is continuing to work collaboratively with First Nations and Métis health to build engagement, with five sessions held in October.
- The SHA committed to hire up to 450 Métis citizens over the next five years who have completed training with the Gabriel Dumont Institute health care program.
“Creating more full-time positions and enhancing existing part-time positions that are difficult to recruit to in rural and northern communities is a key pillar of Saskatchewan's Health Human Resources Action Plan,” Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said. “By offering competitive incentive packages and focusing on key recruitment and retention practices, including for First Nations and Métis citizens, we will be able to attract more health professionals to practice in communities where they are most needed. We will continue promoting our great and growing province as a place of opportunity, where health care workers can have an excellent quality of life, raise a family and be part of a strong and supportive community.”
The Saskatchewan Healthcare Recruitment Agency’s Board of Directors are in the process of beginning the search for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The position has been posted on various job boards and will be posted more widely in the coming days.
An information and marketing campaign is currently underway and will continue in the coming months to promote career opportunities, as well as incentive, retention and financial support programs for health care workers. The next phase of the campaign will feature testimonials from health-care workers from home and abroad who have built a successful career in Saskatchewan.
Details on health care opportunities and how to access them and more information on province’s Health Human Resources Action Plan are available at a dedicated website saskatchewan.ca/HHR. The new website has attracted over 60,000 visits.
- 30 -
For more information, contact: