The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), is committed to doing everything they can to support provincial initiatives to recruit and retain qualified health care professionals in rural Saskatchewan.
SARM President, Ray Orb, said that they're definitely wanting more post-secondary investment, and more specifically, targeted post-secondary investment as well.
"We have young people out there that I think need to have the opportunity, if possible, to get training and to be able to kind of stay, maybe relocate in their small communities. I'm speaking of the rural areas in our province, to be able to put down roots, and to set-up their profession there."
Orb commented that whether it's doctors or nurses, lab technicians, emergency technicians, or even paramedics, all those people are really important to healthcare delivery, and he said it's important to be able to retain those people in their communities and attract new people as well.
"We need to bring in maybe rural doctors, nurses or technicians, to talk to young people whether it be in high schools, or perhaps at an earlier age, about how important it is to be a healthcare provider," he said, "and to have them recognize, it's really important to rural Saskatchewan to have some kind of equity in healthcare delivery. We need to elevate the importance of having healthcare delivery out there that's reliable in rural Saskatchewan."
He said career fairs set-up at schools, community events, where people from that community could attend, or even changes to the curriculum, would help elevate the importance of healthcare in rural settings. He explained that having better healthcare opportunities and delivery in the rural areas would put less pressure on the urban centres.
Orb explained that by not adding healthcare facilities or having enough healthcare professionals available in rural communities, residents are disrupting their day to drive extensive distances for medical care.
As well, Orb noted that it's important that people are notified when there are emergency service disruptions, and they would like these services to stay open in the future, which is where recruiting and retention comes in, as well as good communication between the provincial governments and local communities.