The Government of Saskatchewan is investing $700,000 in 2023-24 and $2.6 million annually to provide support for additional resources to help address growing demands for emergency medical services (EMS) in Saskatoon.

Saskatoon will receive two additional ambulances staffed 24 hours a day/seven days a week, as well as an additional community paramedic 12 hours a day/seven days a week.

“We are committed to ensuring Saskatchewan patients have the access they need to emergency medical services in health crisis situations,” Health Minister Everett Hindley said. “This increase in ambulance and paramedic capacity for the Saskatoon area will improve response times to 911 calls and better balance the workload for our paramedics.”​

Over the past five years, Saskatoon has experienced a 33 per cent increase in EMS call volumes. This has periodically resulted in longer response times.​

The additional ambulances will help relieve pressure on current EMS resources, improve response times to calls and help support rural EMS services waiting to transfer patients into Saskatoon.​

Medavie Health Services West is contracted by the Saskatchewan Health Authority to provide EMS services for Saskatoon and surrounding areas and will start recruitment for the additional staff resources immediately.​

“Medavie Health Services West Saskatoon is proud of our continued partnership with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Ministry of Health,” Chief Operating Officer and Regional Director, Medavie Health Services – West Gerry Schriemer said. “As a health solutions partner, receiving these increased resources will continue to provide the residents of Saskatoon with timely and appropriate high-quality care. Our operations teams are finalizing their deployment plans to ensure these resources are effectively utilized to make the biggest impact to the citizens we serve. We expect the first resources to start as soon as early January.”​

Community paramedics provide support to primary health care, people living in personal care homes, cancer patients and the seniors first program. The community paramedic program in Saskatoon has demonstrated high success rates in treating less urgent (lower acuity) patients within the community. An example of a community paramedics duties include performing dressing changes, administering IV antibiotics, collecting blood, providing medication assistance or treating patients with flu like symptoms. Community paramedics can also assist with patient flow and early emergency department discharge by providing supports to patients while waiting to get connected to supports within the community (e.g., home care).

The province has invested in additional training seats and bursaries for paramedics as part of Saskatchewan’s Health Human Resources Action Plan to recruit, train, incentivize and retain more health care professionals. The bursary program had a high uptake with nearly 95 bursaries awarded to paramedics who committed to work for EMS providers across the province.