04/24/2013 09:13 EDT | Updated 06/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Saskatchewan health minister says he's not alarmed by staffing at care homes

REGINA - Saskatchewan's health minister admits he's hearing more complaints about long-term care homes but says he isn't planning to look at mandating staff levels.

Duncan says each health region gets a quarterly report on staffing from each care home and he doesn't see reason for alarm.

He says mandated staffing or additional beds aren't necessarily the answer to improving long-term care.

He also says Saskatchewan already has more beds per capita than other provinces for people over 70.

Duncan says the way to improve long-term care for seniors is by keeping them out of those facilities in the first place.

That's why the government is increasing spending on providing assistance to seniors in their own homes.

"To hopefully divert that senior; rather than being in the emergency room or an acute care bed in the hospital,” he said.

He says he regularly gets complaints about care homes and says he's asked the heads of the health regions to take a more active role.

"For these senior leaders to spend time at these facilities and discuss concerns with residents and with staff and really see what's working and what's not working,” he said.