(26 March 2015)
The government is continuing to invest in seniors’ care, major capital projects, and in programs aimed at reducing emergency department wait times. Budget 2015-16 provides a record $5.12 billion for health care, an increase of $135 million over the previous year.
First and foremost the aim is to continue improving patient care in the health system, building on a record of reducing surgical wait times and recruiting new doctors and nurses. Seniors’ care will be improved with an additional $10 million investment in new targeted funding to support seniors living in their own homes as well as improving the quality of long-term care.
In addition, this budget includes increased funding for critical infrastructure repairs across the province while supporting the planning and continued construction of new hospitals, integrated health and long-term care facilities. To learn more about how the 2015-16 provincial budget is improving health care in Saskatchewan, visit saskatchewan.ca/budget.
The government understands that a high-quality, sustainable health system means care will be here for our children and grandchildren. That is why the government commends the work of health regions, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and 3sHealth (Health Shared Services Saskatchewan) for collaborating to identify savings which can be redirected to patient care.
The Saskatchewan health system has progressed toward standardizing product purchases across the province. Major cost savings have been attained by developing joint contracts for medications ($44 million), surgical supplies ($33 million), dividends and rebates from high-volume orders ($9 million), lab supplies ($3 million), and utilities ($2 million). All cost-saving initiatives have had to provide at least the same – if not higher – quality of patient care.
In partnership with the health regions and Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, 3sHealth has surpassed its five-year target to identify $100 million in cost savings for Saskatchewan’s healthcare system. Together with the system, 3sHealth has saved a total of $110 million.
Over the last several months, the government has incorporated feedback from stakeholders, researched best practices and worked with the federal government to make positive changes to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP). As a result, The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program will be introducing improvements to its entrepreneur category.
To increase responsiveness and ensure that the program continues to have successful outcomes, the SINP Entrepreneur and Farm category will consolidate five streams into two main streams – the entrepreneur stream and the farm owner/operator stream, with new eligibility requirements. The program has also removed the requirement to submit a $75,000 good faith deposit, encouraging approved applicants to use these funds in the establishment of their business or to assist with their settlement. Instead, approved applicants will be issued a temporary work permit (TWP) support letter to be submitted to the federal government as part of an application for a TWP that will allow them to land in Saskatchewan and begin business.
These improvements are designed to improve processing times, attract investment, create jobs and ensure Saskatchewan continues to have one of the best nominee programs in Canada. For more information, visit immigration.saskatchewan.ca.
Saskatchewan has the highest rate of volunteerism in Canada. As the heart and soul of the neighbourhoods and communities, volunteers make positive things happen each and every day.
Launched in 1995, The Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal recognizes an outstanding volunteer or someone who exemplifies exceptional community involvement. The 2014 recipients are:
- John Barton – Saskatoon
- Tina Bird – Estevan
- Marnie Eistetter – Regina
- Ray Fox – North Battleford
- Don McDonald – Saskatoon
- Harold Ross – Fort Qu’Appelle
- Edith Slatnik – Outlook
- Darren Whitehead – Prince Albert
Congratulations to these remarkable men and women for this achievement. Following a presentation of medals in April, a total of 174 people will have received this provincial honour.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact my constituency office at 1-877-326-3652 (1-877-DAN-DMLA) or 306-443-2420.
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