The Saskatchewan government is offering a $2.85 million grant to paramedics |  PKBNEWS
The Saskatchewan government is offering a $2.85 million grant to paramedics | PKBNEWS

The Saskatchewan government is offering a $2.85 million grant to paramedics | PKBNEWS

Emergency medical services (EMS) providing assistance in Saskatchewan receive their own assistance from the provincial government.

The province has announced a one-time grant of $2.85 million for paramedics in response to inflationary pressures, including rising fuel costs, which have led to increasing financial pressures on these services.

“It’s definitely a great start,” says Kelly Prime, chief paramedic of Midway Ambulance in Wynyard. “It’s very good news.”

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According to Mr. Prime, provincial rates for pickup and mileage fees have not increased in more than a decade, but their costs continue to rise.

“Our costs have just skyrocketed. Also, adding fuel costs, my fuel costs doubled. »

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“We’ve seen ambulance prices go up 30-40 percent,” says Prime. “An ambulance that would cost $150,000 before COVID is now well over $200,000.”

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Global supply chain issues are also delaying the arrival of these ambulances.

“We have ambulances on order and we’ve been told 18 months.” First said.

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An increase in EMS calls is not helping the situation.

“We had an increase of 5,000 emergency responses last year, which we have never seen in our 43-year history of serving Saskatoon and surrounding communities,” says Troy Davies, Director of Public Affairs for Medavie Health Services .

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“Right now, we’re trending towards beating that number again this year, unfortunately. You know, our emergency rooms and our doctors are overwhelmed with what they’re seeing with the number of patients.

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Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley says it was a boost to those he spoke to from Saskatchewan’s paramedic chiefs and paramedics across the province.

“We know it’s a challenge for paramedics,” Hindley said. “We’ve done that once in the past when the government provided one-off funding to help cover some of those extra costs, and that’s what we’re doing with this announcement.”

“We would review and send that money to the paramedics based on the mileage they traveled.”

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Prime says this subsidy will benefit rural services.

“You have a service like La Ronge making two or three transfers to Saskatoon every day. It’s a huge impact on fuel, on equipment, on wear and tear on their vehicle. »

While he is enthusiastic about single payment, he says more work is needed to resolve industry tensions.

“One thing I hope is that this money is new money,” says Prime. “Let that take nothing away from a long-term strategy to correct EMS pressures on the ground.

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