From 12 to one
New Saskatchewan Health Authority to launch Dec. 4
The new Saskatchewan Health Authority is set to take over on Monday, Dec. 4.
“I’m really excited about moving this forward and working towards continuing to deliver excellent care for the people we serve in Saskatchewan,” said Suann Laurent, chief operating officer for the new provincial authority. “It’s been a lot of hard work and we have a long way to go.”
The 12 existing regional health authorities (RHA) that employ approximately 45,000 people will be amalgamated under one jurisdiction.
“Patients won’t see any immediate changes as we move to one health region, but gradually over time, we should be moving to a more co-ordinated system that’s easier for patients to navigate,” said Kyle Matthies, vice-president of people and quality for the Five Hills Health Region (FHHR).
“There are no changes to any of our programs, services, facilities, or phone numbers occurring at this time.”
Laurent reaffirmed that there would be no service interruptions to patients across the province.
“The same responsiveness and contacts that people have now will continue. There’s no service changes in those areas,” said Laurent. “People would still access the same hospitals, the same long-term care services, home-care services and phone the same numbers that they did before. That will continue.”
Matthies also said front-line staff would not change under the new authority.
“In terms of the impact on employees, the senior leadership positions in our health region will be affected during this transition but our frontline staff will continue their day to day work as usual,” he said.
Saskatchewan is not the first to move towards a single provincial system.
Health officials contacted representatives of other provincial health authorities as they constructed their plans.
“We’ve certainly talked to Nova Scotia and now Alberta and other health systems and learned lessons of what to do and what not to do,” said Laurent. “We engaged people across the system in those discussions in Saskatchewan and outside.”
Dec. 4 will only mark the beginning of the changes, with the whole transition expected to be a multi-year process.
“This is just start of it. This is the transition and working through the legislation and putting the structure together and some of the process. There’ll be some more of the processes to work out to get to the final outcome and that takes time,” Laurent said.
Long-term plans include ensuring the quality of service is effective and efficient.
“Over time certainly we’d look at ways to decrease variation and increase quality and safety, but our services and programs won’t be changing,” Laurent said.
Front-line staff would not lose their jobs when the 12 Regional Health Authorities transition to the new Saskatchewan Health Authority.