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Cypress Health expecting budget surplus due to staff vacancies

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg

 Cypress Health Region’s Executive Director of Finance Larry Allsen is expecting a budget surplus of $740,000 for the 2014/15 financial year, but the recent influenza outbreak at the Cypress Lodge Nursing Home in Maple Creek and and an increase in sick leave by staff members might still have an impact on financial projections.

He provided an update on the health region’s financial situation and current budget projections during the Cypress Regional Health Authority meeting Dec. 10.
The main reason for the expected budget surplus is the high number of vacancies in the health region.
“We’re showing the same type of vacancies, not only in nursing,” he said. “It’s all over the board. It’s home care aids, maintenance staff. I mean it’s everywhere, mostly in the rural, but it’s starting to affect Swift Current. We’re having trouble recruiting people, especially in support services. We’re competing against oil, although oil is coming down now. So maybe people looking for jobs, we have jobs available.”
He emphasized the health region is actively recruiting and it is projecting to spend $200,000 on recruitment costs during the current financial year.
“That may even go higher, just trying to go to fairs trying to get the message out,” he said.
Canada’s ageing population means the Cypress Health Region is also facing the challenge of an ageing workforce.
“We got a lot of people that can retire,” he said. “It is a concern and there’s really nobody coming, which is concerning.”
The low unemployment rate in Saskatchewan makes it difficult to find employees and in addition many of the job positions in the health region are specialty areas, which makes it even more challenging to find candidates.
In some cases staff might be reluctant to work at health facilities in rural locations and they prefer to live in larger urban areas.
“You got young nurses coming out and they may not feel comfortable working at a rural site or sometimes you may be the only nurse,” he said. “So that affects where they want to be and young people want to be where the action is too. They want to be where they could have their full scope of practice, where there are things to do and sometimes rural sites aren’t where that it, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need them and they can have a life out there too.”

via SW Sask News – Prairie Post – Prairie Post

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