Saskatchewan has taken the next step in combining all 12 health regions into one single health authority. It was announced yesterday that the head office for the Saskatchewan Health Authority be located in Saskatoon.
Minister of Health, Jim Reiter, said a number of locations were considered but it made sense to choose Saskatoon, "Saskatoon is more centrally located, it's the largest city in the province, and it's in close proximity to the children's hospital and the College of Medicine."
Rural and Remote Health Minister, Greg Ottenbreit, said one of their focuses is to stay connected, "A sign that our government remains committed to health care in our province is a system that responds and listens to local voices, as well as the bigger provincial ones. We want to ensure that we stay connected with our local meters, people, communities, and our health care provincials." This Health Care Authority will have a distributed executive leadership model. This model will have senior management in Regina, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw, and other major communities across the province.
The amalgamation is expected to save the province an estimated $10-20 million by 2018-19. While many are concerned about the job losses that come with this, Reiter ensure that very few 'front line' positions will see very little difference.
Reiter also addressed concerns about rural voices not being heard after the amalgamation
While cost savings are one of the things this change will accomplish, Reiter says it is secondary to health services and patient care in the province.
The first day of operation for the health authority is still being determined but it is expected to happen Fall 2017.