The Saskatoon Health Region is enforcing a two-month hiring freeze as it aims to achieve a balanced budget.
The region ended its 2015-16 fiscal year in March with a deficit of $35.7 million and has been working to decrease monthly spending.
The gap between provincial funding and patient expenses was around $5 million a month last year, but that has already been lowered to $2.7 million.
According to SHR CEO Dan Florizone, the upcoming budget will reflect over $44 million in changes and the equivalent to 200 eliminated positions.
“We’re expected to live within our means and we’re hopeful that we’ll see a turnaround, I’m sure everyone is in our province,” SHR CEO Dan Florizone said Wednesday.
“But as long as our current economic situation persists, I think we are going to look forward to some very challenging and interesting times.”
The health region has calculated that it can avoid most layoffs if the hiring freeze remains in place for two months.
Florizone explained that there is already a lot of movement within the system of 14,000 staff, because people retire, resign or move away.
He said their goal is to collaborate with unions to redeploy staff to areas where they are needed most.
In the first quarter of this year, the health region has already reduced overtime by 18 per cent by using innovative tools to predict patient loads and then staffing to those needs.
In addition to the hiring freeze, a voluntary separation program will be in place, which means managers will receive an incentive to leave or retire early.
Florizone said more changes will be coming after the board is presented with the budget in September.