From the office of Bob Bjornerud
Improving Care, Putting Patients First
The purpose of a building and maintaining a strong and growing economy is to ensure the best possible quality of life for all Saskatchewan people. This includes better health care. Over the last seven years, our government has increased investments in health care by 45 per cent. We have invested in important infrastructure like new hospitals and long-term care facilities while working diligently to reduce wait times and attract and retain medical professionals.
Six years ago, our government proceeded with the first ever review of the Saskatchewan health care system from the perspective of patients. Since that time, The Patient First Review has guided our efforts to make the health care system more responsive, efficient and effective.In that regard, we’ve made great progress, understanding that there remains more to do.
Lean is one example of a patient-focused approach that identifies and eliminates activities that do not add value. It empowers employees to generate and implement innovative solutions to problems and has improved the quality and timeliness of services provided to patients.
Since 2008, Lean processes have also resulted in $125 million in projected financial benefits. This is possible through one-time savings, capacity increases,productivity gains and avoided future costs. Although the investment in Lean has already paid for itself, the true benefit of this quality improvement work is how it is making healthcare better on a daily basis for Saskatchewan patients and their families.
There are numerous examples of how quality improvement work puts patients first, including:
· Improved co-ordination of follow-up care that ensures all fragile infants, who are at risk for respiratory complications, receive crucial follow-up antibiotic injections.Previously, 24 per cent of these infants missed their injections.
· The elimination of the list of clients waiting more than 30 days for dietician services in MamawetanChurchill River.
· The conversion of two offices into exam rooms at Riverside Medical Clinic in Prairie North Health Region – meaning 95 per cent of patients are shown to an exam room within 15 minutes.
· Paramedics in Regina Qu’appelle removed duplicate supplies and reorganized ambulances, reducing the amount of time it takes to prepare an ambulance by 90 per cent.
Lean is delivering meaningful results as we work to put the patient first in health care. And Saskatchewan has only begun to tap into its huge potential.Information on Lean activities in Saskatchewan’s health system is available at http://blog.hqc.sk.ca/.
Governments Invest in New Food Centre
Together with the Government of Canada, our government is investing more than $13 million for the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. (Food Centre) to build and equip a new innovative facility. The Food Centre is the primary source of food product development, technology transfer and commercialization for the Saskatchewan food industry.
As Saskatchewan’s agri-processing industry expands, so does the demand for new product development and commercialization. The new 30,000 square foot facility will support the expansion of Saskatchewan’s food ingredient processing sector, housing product development, specialized laboratory services, extrusion technology, interim processing capacity and more.
As Canada’s leading producer and exporter of agricultural products, it only makes sense that we also have the ability to add value to the raw commodities here in Saskatchewan. The Food Centre is key to growing our value-added sector and adding strength to our diversified economy. This expansion will allow for more development and processing here at home.
Since its inception in 1997, the Food Centre has worked with more than 245 clients and has developed over 600 food products. Some of the innovative products developed at the Food Centre include fruit infused honey, flavoured camelina oils, beef jerky, bison Saskatoon berry jerky, granola bars, breakfast cereals, and barley snacks, to name a few. Construction of the new facility will begin in spring 2015 and is expected to be completed by 2017.
Producers Choices Enhanced with 2015 Crop Insurance Program
Every farming operation is unique and the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation continues to grow the range of choices that are available for the province’s farmers and ranchers. The 2015 Crop Insurance Program includes ongoing enhancements which give producers more options and flexibility to build a package that is suited to the needs of their operation.
On average, coverage levels are increasing while premiums are decreasing. The improved coverage is a result of better forecasted crop prices and increased long-term yields. The lower premium is a result of lower rates to provide insurance coverage to producers.
Producers are encouraged to visit their local Crop Insurance office and discuss the options and choices available.Detailed program and contract information is also available at any local Crop Insurance office, at http://www.saskcropinsurance.com or by calling 1-888-935-0000.
Growing Agriculture Literacy in Saskatchewan
Agriculture plays a vital role in our day-to-day lives and is at the root of Saskatchewan’s strong and diversified economy. As such, it is important to teach our youth about agriculture and food production. This is the goal of Agriculture Literacy Week in Saskatchewan.
Students often learn best when they are able to connect with their subject matter. That’s why, during Agriculture Literacy Week, producers and other members of the industry gather in classrooms acrossthe province to read stories and discuss their experiences in the industry.
By introducing them to people who are directly involved in the agriculture industry, we’re able to help them understand the role agriculture plays in their lives and in the world.
This year’s industry volunteers will be reading from AITC’s new book, The Adventures of Michael and Mia: Stewards of the Land, written by Edward Willett and illustrated by Val Lawton. The book introduces readers to modern agriculture and farm stewardship. More than 130 classrooms and almost 3,000 students are taking part in Agriculture Literacy Week this year