September 11, 2020

$2.9 Million Investment to Improve Ambulance Response Times

Access to emergency services will be improved in Saskatchewan through a $2.9 million investment to boost Emergency Medical Services (EMS).  The Government of Saskatchewan is providing $2.13 million for additional paramedic staffing in Saskatoon and Regina, and $780,000 for additional staffing at the Royal University Hospital (RUH) Emergency Department in Saskatoon.

“We value the incredible work that EMS professionals do to serve our residents and we are committed to providing Saskatchewan patients with timely access to emergency medical services,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Warren Kaeding said.  “This funding will increase capacity for current EMS resources and will lead to better patient outcomes.”

Over the past five years, EMS in Regina and Saskatoon have experienced an increase in call volumes.  In 2019-20, Regina EMS answered more than 26,700 calls and Saskatoon EMS answered more than 31,900 calls, a 7.0 per cent and 11 per cent increase respectively since 2014-15.

The $2.13 million in new funding will be used to provide additional staffed ambulances in Saskatoon and Regina over the next two months to improve emergency response times in these cities and the surrounding areas.

“With the growth of our communities comes increased call volume for emergency care in Saskatoon and our surrounding communities,” Medavie Health Services West Chief Operating Officer, Chief of EMS Gerry Schriemer said.  “The added resources will go a long way to ensure we can respond to residents in their time of need, provide a safe delivery of care and have an immediate impact on the stressors our Paramedics are currently facing.  Through our partnership with the Saskatchewan Health Authority we have been able to work together to present the data needed to support this decision.”

The additional $780,000 will be used to increase staffing at the RUH Emergency Department to provide a quicker transition of care between EMS and Emergency Department staff.  This will allow both rural and urban ambulance services to return to service sooner.  This new investment will help to improve offload delays in the near-term while the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) continues to review and work toward system-wide improvements to patient flow.  The SHA anticipates these positions to be filled and the additional service operational within the next few months.

“This provincial investment into additional EMS resources will ensure that our EMS providers in Saskatoon and Regina are able to respond in a timely manner to urgent care calls,” Saskatchewan Health Authority Provincial Programs Vice President Corey Miller said.  “Also, the investment into the RUH Emergency Department will see significant improvement in the transition of patients from incoming EMS ambulances.  This will provide improved turnaround times for rural and remote EMS providers that are transferring patients into the urban center, thus improving EMS response times and coverage throughout the entire province.”