Rural and Remote Health Minister Randy Weekes wrapped up a short tour of northern Saskatchewan on Friday.

Over the course of last week, Weekes visited the communities of Beauval, Pinehouse and Sandy Bay.

He says a need to address aging health facilities and infrastructure topped the list of things he heard from community stakeholders.

“The common theme is probably facilities, you know the facilities are getting older, as they are across much of the province,” he says. “There is multibillion dollar deficit in infrastructure in health besides roads and highways and bridges. And so that’s an ongoing discussion that we’re having and our government has committed additional resources across the province in each budget to address some of those needs.”

Weekes adds access to mental health and addiction services in northern Saskatchewan continues to be an issue the province wants to address.

He says the province has recently added a mental health and addictions worker in Sandy Bay and wants to work with elders and other community leaders to provide support services.

The rural and remote health minister also says the province still plans to introduce collaborative emergency centres but northern communities won’t be amongst the first to see the service.

He says the province will begin to roll out CECs in the near future but the first communities to see the service will be in southern Saskatchewan.

Based on a system currently being used in Nova Scotia, CECs offer health care services to remote communities by using a primary health care team that does not include a nurse and doctor at all times.