REGINA – Construction crews have a deadline: by November, the heliport at the Regina General Hospital should be operational. For STARS air ambulance, it can’t come soon enough.
“We’re able to transport the critically-ill patients to tertiary care. It’s probably about a fifteen minute savings,” said STARS pilot Barry Tolmie.
The government announced the $3.4 million design and construction of the heliport in this year’s provincial budget. It’s the first in the province and will be followed by a helipad on top of the children’s hospital in Saskatoon by 2016. Currently, patients are flown to the Regina airport, and transported to hospital by ground ambulance. In emergencies where seconds count, fifteen minutes can mean life or death.
“STARS has been very well received and we’re just building infrastructure to improve the service as we move forward,” said the Minister responsible for rural and remote health, Randy Weekes.
The helipads are an important part of the program, but even with the new additions in the two cities, STARS remains a key aspect of rural health, providing much needed emergency services in rural communities. The minister assured that wouldn’t change.
STARS is able to land in all sorts of places without a pad, so they can land in accident scenes, they can land on highways,” he said.
The construction is scheduled to be completed this fall and staff training will begin at that time.