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Saskatchewan unveils new incentives to attract, retain health-care professionals

by HR News Canada
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Saskatchewan has announced additional incentives as part of its ongoing Health Human Resources (HHR) Action Plan aimed at recruiting, training, and retaining healthcare professionals in the province. The plan, which continues to make progress, is a strategic effort to strengthen the health system and support both current and future health professionals.

Health Minister Everett Hindley emphasized the importance of the HHR Action Plan, stating, “Our ambitious HHR Action Plan is a key strategy to strengthen our health system and valued health care teams, and support our current and future health professionals. Continued investment in health human resources along with generous incentives help ensure Saskatchewan remains an attractive place for health care professionals to live, work and study.”

Among the new measures, a perfusionist from Calgary has recently joined the Interventional Cardiology and Cardiac Support Services team at Regina General Hospital. Perfusionists, who work closely with cardiac surgeons and anesthesiologists, are currently in high demand.

$200,000 retention incentive

Effective April 1, 2024, a new retention incentive has been introduced for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Pediatric Immunology and Allergy specialists. This incentive offers $200,000 over five years for specialists committing to a return-of-service in Saskatoon.

Additional incentives of $200,000 over five years are also available for specialists in anesthesia, psychiatry, and breast and interventional radiology.

Mike Northcott, Chief Human Resources Officer of the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), highlighted the collaborative effort with the government, saying, “The Saskatchewan Health Authority is committed to working with the Government of Saskatchewan to advance the HHR Action Plan ensuring we are delivering safe, high-quality patient-centred care as close to home as possible for everyone in our province. I can’t say thank you enough for the dedication and tireless efforts of all our teams and we are excited to see the results of our recruitment and retention initiatives.”

Financial Clinic Placement Bursary

The Ministry of Health has also opened its spring 2024-25 callout for the Final Clinical Placement Bursary, which assists students preparing for a career in healthcare. This bursary is available to students beginning their final clinical placements between April 1 and September 30, 2024, and is expected to attract significant interest following a record number of approvals in 2023-24.

Progress updates from the HHR Action Plan include:

  • The arrival of 252 internationally educated health professionals from the Philippines, with 179 now working in communities across the province.
  • The hiring of 1,156 nursing graduates from Saskatchewan and other provinces since December 2022, including 59 since April 1, 2024.
  • The filling of 238 out of 250 targeted new and enhanced full-time positions in high-priority occupations to stabilize staffing in rural and northern areas.
  • The recruitment of 303 hard-to-recruit positions through the Rural and Remote Recruitment Incentive, which offers up to $50,000 over three years.
  • The Rural Physician Incentive, offering up to $200,000 over five years to physicians practicing in rural and northern communities, has received 269 applications, with 138 approved for payment.

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