The Saskatchewan Health Authority is creating a new program in an effort to create more full-time positions in rural and northern communities across the province.

Besides over 125 new, full-time, frontline healthcare positions that have been posted online, over 50 existing part-time positions have also been enhanced to full-time.

The new and enhanced positions span 49 communities across the province, and include Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Continuing Care Aides, Medical Radiation Technologists, Medical Laboratory Assistants, and Combined Lab and X-Ray Technicians.

Weyburn, Estevan, Redvers, and other southeast communities are included.

"Bolstering our health care workforce through our aggressive Health Human Resources Action Plan will serve to attract more health professionals to practice in communities where they are most needed," Health Minister Paul Merriman said. "The creation of more permanent, full-time positions will lead to better retention of our health care workforce in these rural and northern areas."

This is a part of the province's Health Human Resources Action Plan to create more full-time positions and enhance existing, difficult-to-recruit part-time positions to full-time in rural and northern communities.

"Following the announcement of Saskatchewan's Health Human Resources Action Plan, the SHA worked directly with its teams on the ground at local health facilities to determine what staffing enhancements would help them the most," SHA Chief Human Resources Officer Mike Northcott said. "We are pleased to have the support of the Ministry of Health in taking a flexible approach to aligning new resources with local needs."

Many of the new positions also qualify for new incentives provided by the Government of Saskatchewan as part of the recently launched Health Human Resources Action Plan.

A new one-time incentive of up to $50,000 is available to attract new employees to targeted positions in rural and remote areas. The incentive packages will range from $30,000 to $50,000 depending on the position.

"We have heard directly from frontline health care workers that more permanent full-time positions are integral to enhancing health care services across our province," Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said. "By offering competitive incentive packages and focusing on key retention practices, we will expand our health care workforce, stabilize health care services across the province, and build a stronger health care system ready to meet the needs of a growing province."

A list of those applicable communities is available on the Saskatchewan government's website.