The provincial government will be locating the head office of the new Saskatchewan Health Authority in Saskatoon.
Health Minister Jim Reiter said a number of locations were considered, but the centrality of Saskatoon was a factor in making the decision.
“Saskatoon will be the location of the head office because it is more centrally located in the province, is close to the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), and will be in close proximity to the new children’s hospital,” Reiter said in a statement.
The headquarters will also be near the U of S dentistry, pharmacy and public health programs, noted health administration expert Cheryl Camillo.
“If the goal of this move to one consolidated authority it’s also to move to having more patient-centered care in the province … I think it’s important to integrate those schools into the overall provincial health strategy,” Camillo, a public policy professor in Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, said in an interview Monday.
Remote offices will be located in Regina and Prince Albert, with management and administrative staff located in other major communities in the province.
“The new Saskatchewan Health Authority must have a strong connection to people and local communities,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit said in a statement.
“Management and support services will continue to be located across the province to support the delivery of high quality and consistent frontline health care services for Saskatchewan people, wherever they live.”
Officials said amalgamating the health regions has the potential to save the province between $10- and $20-million by 2018-19 by reducing duplication and increasing efficiencies.
Work is already underway to move to the single health authority. Reiter said Monday that between 300 and 400 jobs are expected to be based out of Saskatoon’s office.
Teams are building the information technology infrastructure to support approximately 43,000 employees, including a website, network and email accounts.
The new Saskatchewan Health Authority is expected to be operational in fall 2017. Reiter said the search for a new CEO will begin in the coming days.
“Somebody with local knowledge in the province, obviously that would be beneficial, but this is going to be a very different style of operating,” Reiter said of the CEO search.
“Whether it’s somebody from Saskatchewan or outside, we need somebody with sort of no preconceived notions about the health regions.”