11/27/2015 12:12 EST | Updated 11/27/2015 12:59 EST

Saskatoon Health Region Announces Major Layoffs Leading Up To Christmas

The health region is projecting its largest deficit ever at $45 million.

Scott Prokop via Getty Images
City of Saskatoon Hospital

SASKATOON — Some Saskatoon Health Region employees will lose their jobs this holiday season, but just how many positions will be cut is still up in the air.

The health region is projecting its largest deficit ever at $45 million.

CEO Dan Florizone says that means there will be layoffs in the coming weeks.

He says they have to decrease their monthly spending by $4 million by the end of the fiscal year.

Florizone says the region will always consider non-staff areas first but staffing takes up 70 per cent of their spending.

When establishing the budget, Florizone says they set some "very bold targets'' around reduction of overtime and sick time.

"Many of those initiatives have been successful. The problem is, they just haven't happened quickly enough.''

The number of cuts will depend on the areas that are targeted and which programs are eliminated.

Florizone says he has personally looked at 1,100 different lines of service and whittled it down to 84 areas of closer examination.

They could include anything from parking to direct delivery and service design. But Florizone says the ultimate goal is to minimize the impact on patients.

All three Saskatoon hospitals are currently operating at over-capacity, with St. Paul's and Royal University taking the brunt of patients. Reasons include a growing demographic that's younger than ever and new technology that saves more lives.


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