It's a record investment in health care by the Saskatchewan government for its 2018-19 budget.

Roughly $3.5 billion of the $5.77 billion for health care will go to the newly-formed Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) for their operation funding.

Scott Livingstone, CEO of the SHA, said their initial reaction to the budget is they're pleased.

"The numbers are moving in the right direction," he said. "We received a $31.5-million increase to our base funding... and an additional $40.4 million in specific targetted funding."

The base funding increase will help the SHA deal with financial pressures and new operating costs for the new children's hospital and the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford. Livingstone said the targetted funding will be released throughout the fiscal year after consulting with the ministry of health.

Mental health services also received a boost of $11.4 million pushing the total funding to $284 million, something Livingstone was pleased about.

"This investment is going to help us expand services in communities," he said. "The nice thing about the investment is it has both aspects of prevention, as well as improved treatment."

Livingstone is hoping for future budgets to continue increasing funds towards mental health services allowing the SHA to properly care for patients closer to home.

Overall Livingstone is pleased with the 2.9-per-cent increase in health care.

"With respect to this being our first budget as the new Saskatchewan Health Authority, I think this is a budget where we were looking for the government to recognize the challenge of transformation and to give us some breathing space as we did that," he explained." And I think this budget is reflective of that."

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