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Sask. health officials hopeful budget boost will help with hospital overcrowding

Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) officials say they’re making progress on hospital crowding and waiting times, and that new money announced in Wednesday’s provincial budget will help even more.

“Yesterday was a very exciting day for us,” said SHA CEO Andrew Will.

Will and other SHA officials hosted a news conference Thursday morning at Saskatoon’s City Hospital.to discuss the $7.6 billion announced for health care in 2024-25. They say that money will help a lot.

The budget includes half a billion dollars for hospital and care home construction in Prince Albert, Weyburn and other smaller centers.

Will said it’s not just about buildings or physical infrastructure. He said there are other measures underway to ease pressure on emergency rooms and hospitals.

an exterior picture of the Victoria Hospital with snow on the ground and vehicles parked outside
The budget dedicated more than $500 million for health infrastructure projects across Saskatchewan, including an expansion to the hospital in Prince Albert, Sask. Health officials say increasing capacity in smaller cities will take pressure off hospitals in Saskatoon and Regina. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

Will said the SHA has hired more than 150 new staff for Saskatoon and Regina, and hopes to continue that trend. He also said it’s well on its way to adding another 500 beds for addiction treatment in the next few years.

“Having those additional treatment beds will improve access to services. It also has a secondary benefit of alleviating pressure where people might seek services in our emergency rooms,” he said.

He listed extra supports for long-term care and other areas as well.

Will said the extra staffing and the increase in other supports should ease pressures over time. He and other officials thanked everyone for their hard work.

WATCH | Sask. health officials hopeful budget boost will help with hospital overcrowding:

Sask. health officials hopeful budget boost will help with hospital overcrowding

Saskatchewan Health Authority officials say they’re making progress on hospital crowding and waiting times, and that new money announced in Wednesday’s provincial budget will help even more.

SHA vice-president John Ash said he was grateful for the work of staff during this stressful period.

“We have more work to do, and we will continue to work with and listen to our staff … in order to provide the best possible care to the patients we serve,” Ash said.

The officials said changes won’t come over night, but they believe the SHA is moving in the right direction.

Groups representing nurses, doctors and other health workers said this week that the government needs to do more to retain workers. Some say the budget increase may seem large, but it won’t come close to repairing the holes in the system.

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