06/13/2012 05:45 EDT | Updated 08/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Nurses, Saskatchewan government & health region sign partnership to improve care

REGINA - Saskatchewan nurses, the government and health regions have signed a deal they say will improve health care.

The two-year agreement is aimed at retaining and recruiting nurses, especially in rural and northern communities.

The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses and the province first signed a partnership agreement in 2008 to hire 800 more nurses over four years and reached that goal.

The latest agreement doesn't have a specific target.

Health Minister Dustin Duncan says the shortage of nurses is not a critical as it once was, but there are other issues that still need to be addressed.

He says the number of nurses nearing retirement could pose a challenge going forward.