As part of recommendation provided by the Advisory Panel on the Health System Re-structuring in 2016, the Provincial Physician Recruitment Agency will become a part of the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

The agency, which has brought more than 900 licensed doctors and 3,700 more nurses to Saskatchewan than there were in 2007, will now become a part of the SHA.

They also work to improve the number of health practitioners in the province and make sure rural and remote communities that will receive a physician will be a fit for the doctor if they come.

According to Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit, the transition doesn't affect the whole of the agency.

"Not too much really changes. Like the name for all intents and purposes doesn't change, location doesn't change, they still have a specific budget and they actually operate as a secretariat within the Health Authority," explained Minister Ottenbreit. "So they do have, to a certain extent, autonomy but it's just a lot more efficient operation now that they're working directly within the Health Authority that are deemed important."

The agency has also managed to bring the retention rate of doctors graduating in Saskatchewan up from 57% to 77%.

With a number of partners involved with the agency, including the:

Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association;
Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities;
College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan;
Saskatchewan Health Authority;
Saskatchewan Medical Association;
medical residents and students;
Ministry of Immigration and Career Training; and
Ministry of Health.

Minister Ottenbreit said that the agency has done a good job with the recruitment of retention of physicians in Saskatchewan, which is why they will have current board members of the agency still have input through the SHA so they can continue their good work.

While cost-saving will eventually be a part of the transition, their first tasks are focused on fulfilling recommendations from the panel on health authority restructuring.

"Our first and foremost goal is to have an efficient running system that is very responsive to the province and the people of the province and you know the physician part of it is one part, but also with health careers in Saskatchewan kind of coming under the mandate of the Provincial Physician Recruitment Agency, it helps not only for physicians but other health care professionals to make sure that we can fulfill those roles specifically in rural and remote areas," Minister Ottenbreit added.

The transition takes place July 23rd.

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