The Saskatchewan government recently announced plans to improve the ambulance response times and services for a large portion of communities north of Saskatoon.
Cities like Martensville and Warman are two of the fastest-growing communities in Saskatchewan, outpacing some of their ambulance service requirements.
The provincial government’s announcement means there will be an ambulance situated in Martensville to help reduce wait times, address continued growth, and enhance ambulance services.
“This is one piece of the puzzle and I think we are going to expand on that in the near future,” said Warman mayor Gary Philpchuk.
Philipchuk said he hopes to see an ambulance based in Warman at some point as well. In addition to further health care such as a centralized hospital for the region.
Philipchuk added the area of Warman and Martensville has a population of roughly 25,000 people and that number is increasing, with Warman having the higher population.
“We hope this is a precursor for more healthcare-related expansions coming to our communities,” City of Martensville mayor Kent Muench told Global News.
Muench said this is a great announcement for reducing the number of wait times and taking some strain off the system in Saskatoon.
“We have heard some people have had to wait 30 minutes, an hour or more in some cases,” Muench said.
Martensville-Warman MLA Terry Jenson said this is part of the government’s spring budget commitment of $6.57 million to enhance emergency medical services in the province. The government will be providing $1.16 million in annual funding to the SHA to support these enhanced services.
“This enhancement will provide improved EMS service to supplement first responder services to the area and communities such as Warman, Martensville, Borden, Dalmeny, Hepburn, Langham, and Osler,” said SHA Provincial programs executive director Rod MacKenzie.
“We thank all of the communities and rural municipalities who participated in our consultations. We identified through those consultations that both Martensville and Warman would be excellent communities in which to base this service.”
MacKenzie said Martensville was selected because of its central location to a slightly higher population of the area, leading to a decrease in travel distance and response times for a higher number of residents.
Muench added it’s crucial these services come to the ever-growing area, and not force people to go chasing them in a sense.
“It really is important to make sure the point of care is where the residents are living rather than requiring these residents to travel to Saskatoon or any other community to get the care they need,” Muench told Global News.
Philipchuk said the announcement is all-around better for all communities north of Saskatoon.
“Now we need to make sure we have drop-off points. Having them within our region is beneficial to the whole system in Saskatoon,” Philipchuk said.
The SHA will take a phased approach and start providing services 12 hours/day in November and an additional 12 hours/day will begin in March 2022.
Medavie Health Services West is the EMS area service provider who will set up and staff the Martensville response base.