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‘Extremely busy’ year for Saskatoon paramedics

‘Extremely busy’ year for Saskatoon paramedics
Troy Davies said there are 30 to 50 overdose calls a week and they’ve gone up 110 per cent in the past five years. Tyler Schroeder / Global News

An official with Medavie Health Services West says their paramedics in Saskatoon had their busiest year so far in 2019.

They saw a record 31,440 emergency responses last year compared to 30,845 in 2018.

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Medavie public affairs director Troy Davies said the trend in call volume is going upwards. He attributes the rising numbers to a growing population and an increase in overdose calls.

He said there are 30 to 50 overdose calls a week and they’ve gone up 110 per cent in the past five years.

Davies said they’ve recognized, amongst their staff, cases of mental health issues from the stresses of the job. He added these call volumes take their toll and Medavie’s focus now is on not only patient care but staff care as well.

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“This past year has been extremely busy for our paramedics,” Davies said in a press release on Thursday.

“We are one of the most diverse EMS agencies in the country having paramedics working in different capacities to serve those in Saskatoon and surrounding communities. We continue to work with key stakeholders on strategies to address issues our paramedics see daily.”

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Davies said they have partnered with stakeholders on programs aimed to help reduce emergency room visits. One of those programs is the community paramedic program, which had paramedics go out and treat 1,757 patients in 2019 without an emergency vehicle having to respond to them.

Medavie also responds to Warman, Martensville, Osler and other smaller communities around Saskatoon.