326 B High Street West Moose Jaw, SK

Moose Jaw Express April 24, 2018

April 24, 2018

The budget for Saskatchewan Health Services is the largest entity of the provincial budget, and as the population increases there is greater emphasis on providing health services in our province.

The 2018-19 Saskatchewan Health Budget includes a focus on ensuring health services are delivered in new, innovative ways, to better meet the needs of residents.

This year’s record health budget will work to improve health care for all Saskatchewan people.

The transition to a single Saskatchewan Health Authority late last year is already saving $19 million in administration costs. These savings are now being reinvested in front-line services to enhance health care.

This year’s budget includes new initiatives such as Universal HIV Drug Coverage, Individualized Autism Funding, and a Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program.

Targeted funding will also provide Saskatchewan people with increased access to mental health, palliative care and community-based primary health care services.

The 2018-19 budget fulfills our commitment to vision loss rehabilitation services and equipment with a $250,000 increase to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

More funding will also be provided to the Saskatchewan Health Authority for general operating costs and service pressures, as well as to prepare for the 2018 opening of Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford and the 2019 opening of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon.

Federal funding of $19.02 million has been included to support the provincial Connected Care strategy. This builds on existing provincial funding on connecting teams and providing seamless care for people with multiple, ongoing health care needs with a particular focus on care in the community.

Additionally, federal and provincial funding of $11.4 million has been added to improve community-based mental health services, including services and supports for children, youth and families.  This brings the total investment in mental health to over $284 million in 2018-19.

Saskatchewan’s publicly-funded Take Home Naloxone (THN) program will also be expanding to provide free THN kits to people who may witness an overdose, including friends and family members of those at risk. Prior to this expansion, nearly 600 kits had been distributed for free to individuals at risk of overdose, and over 1,900 people received training on how to administer them.

The province spends more than $46 million annually on a wide range of addictions services. An additional $400,000 for addictions support is part of the 2018-19 Budget investment in mental health and addictions.  Please contact your local THN program to make arrangements for training and to receive a free kit.  For a list of sites where THN kits can be provided for free, visit www.publications.gov.sk.ca/redirect.cfm?p=85696&i=106365, or for a list of community pharmacies that sell THN kits, visit https://www.skpharmacists.ca/patients/naloxone.

Our government remains committed to taking the necessary steps to meet the needs of all Saskatchewan people, ensuring those most vulnerable in our community continue to receive the supports they need.