The gift for a first anniversary is paper, something to keep in mind as the Saskatchewan Health Authority marks one year in operation this week.
On Dec. 4, 2018, the twelve health regions in Saskatchewan amalgamated into one single authority , and CEO Scott Livingstone thinks it’s gone pretty well.
He said part of the authority’s success is that they were able to see what other provinces like Alberta and Nova Scotia had done before them.
“Because of our learnings from other jurisdictions and the period that the government gave us to transition services prior to the launch date … we think we’re ahead of other jurisdictions where they were in their year one because we’ve had the opportunity to learn from them.”
As an example, Livingstone said in Saskatchewan we were able to put some infrastructure in place more quickly than they have in other places.
If it comes as a surprise to some people that it’s already been a year since the amalgamation of the health regions, that’s not entirely an accident.
Livingstone said for the first year it was a goal that patients wouldn’t see much of a change in their care.
“Those same dedicated personnel that were providing care were going to be those same people that they would see every day.”
He explained that the authority focused on things behind the scenes – like getting the organizational infrastructure in place and running smoothly.
Another focus was getting to the $9.7 million savings target from the province – Livingstone said they’re going to hit that, mostly through going from twelve executive teams to one.
In the comings year, patients can expect to start seeing more changes.
Livingstone said the authority will work on more service integration, rolling out provincial service standards so every part of the province will see the same level of healthcare, and focusing on a team-based approach to healthcare between facilities in the province.
“We’ve got to stop spending on all our money on treating illness and start getting upstream and helping folks manage diseases that they are diagnosed with but also preventing disease and keeping out population healthier,” said Livingstone.
One of the big problems Saskatchewan has when it comes to healthcare is recruiting doctors and specialists to our communities.
Earlier this fall it came out that three of the province’s four gynecological oncologists were leaving their positions.
But Livingstone said he thinks the amalgamation of the health regions has helped recruitment. He said it allows them to take a provincial lens to such things.
He explained that previously, with 12 regions trying to recruit, often there would end up being competition. And he said sometimes doctors would end up be placed in less than optimal areas.
With recruitment being under health authority now, he said they can take all things into account when finding doctors and placing them