Sask. offering child psychiatrist recruitment incentive for Prince Albert

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Carla Beck responds to an SHA memo about the Victoria Hospital’s inpatient youth psychiatric unit closing on Aug. 29, 2023. – Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald

The Saskatchewan government is putting more competitive measures in place as it struggles to recruit psychiatrists in Prince Albert.

In a statement sent to the Herald on Tuesday evening, the Ministry of Health said filling two vacant full-time child and youth psychiatry positions in the city is a “top priority.”

“The SHA (Saskatchewan Health Authority) and the new Saskatchewan Healthcare Recruitment Agency are actively recruiting for these positions across Saskatchewan, Canada, and internationally,” it reads.

The ministry said it has put in place a $200,000 recruitment incentive. Additionally, according to the statement, the ministry has provided funding to the SHA to implement a team-based care model for patients.

This comes after a leaked SHA memo, which informs staff that the inpatient child and youth psychiatric unit at the Victoria Hospital can not admit patients effective Aug. 18.

This is the third time in three years the unit has closed.

On Tuesday, the Opposition NDP held a news conference responding to the closure. NDP Leader Carla Beck and Prince Albert Northcote candidate Nicole Rancourt said the province needs to focus on retention of health care workers.