The Saskatchewan government is finding ways to plug the $1 billion deficit.
With numerous cost-cutting measures throughout the year, it has shaved $63.9 million from the health budget.
The impact is being felt across the board.
The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) will tighten its belt even further now it’s getting less.
That impact will be seen on the administrative and programming side rather than on the frontline of patient care.
“We all need to change our expectations of the number of things or projects or amount of work that is coming that is focused on system-level work as opposed to system-delivery work, so there will be some impact,” CEO Keith Dewar explained.
Other vacancy management work RQHR is taking includes not filling positions – even temporarily.
“Very few if any of those vacancies that come up with be filled and also we will further restrict the amount of temporary or casual people to backfill that work.”
But that is a concern to the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN).
The organization wonders whether workloads will be increased on already pressured nurse managers.
“They have been put in a pretty tough position on how to be able to lead inside of all of the pressures that are coming down on them,” SUN president Tracy Zambori said.
Zambori argued that any changes to staff must be a collaborative conversation about who is essential to patient care.
“We need to make sure we are doing that proper research and analysis to determine what positions are needed in the system.”
Another organization impacted by cost cutting is Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS).
It has seen government contributions reduce from $10.5 million to $10 million and are having to make adjustments as a result.
“Expenditures that we may have to undertake would be things like our ability to upgrade our medical or training equipment or IT infrastructure,” spokesperson Mark Oddan said.
“Those things are important, but are not mission critical to our day-to-day operations so can be deferred for a year or two”.
STARS is assuring patients the service to them won’t be impacted.
But all partners within the health budget are anticipating further cuts as the march toward the budget continues.