Some patients in Regina and Saskatoon could be transferred to rural hospitals

Hospitals in Regina and Saskatoon are at capacity and if it continues to go this way for the next while, possible patient transfers to rural hospitals could be expected. File / Global News

As hospitals in Regina and Saskatoon are at or above capacity, the province said some patients may need to be transferred to rural hospitals.

Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman said during a press conference on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, that we might need to move an individual on a temporary basis and that we’re not there yet.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe elaborated on Merriman’s comments, saying right now hospital facilities in Saskatoon and Regina are operating after likely doing so slightly above their capacity.

Read more: COVID-19: Two Saskatoon hospitals at capacity, according to internal email

“We may have to move some of our family members out into…a different location,” said Premier Moe. “For example, maybe a nearby rural community where we do have…beds available to ease some of the pressures and allow us to really utilize the full provincial capacity that we have as opposed to just the two largest centres.”

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It was a decision that does not sit lightly to one rural leader. Humboldt, Sask., is one of the centres that the province is considering of utilizing patient transfers.

Read more: COVID-19: Premier Moe says no new measures on the way for Saskatchewan

Humboldt Mayor Michael Behiel said it’s frustrating that the province can find the ability to download onto the rural centres, but when it comes to lobbying for resources, they are told they are best suited for urban centres rather than the rural areas.

“This came up saying they’re going to dump patients to Humboldt, and I went, ‘You don’t want to give us anything to deal with…our issues of mental, addictions, homelessness,'” said Behiel.

“[The government] says we don’t need extra funding for that…but now you’re saying we can’t handle the people in the city so we’re going to dump them to the rural areas.”

It isn’t known when the possible patient transfers will happen, but the province said they will only activate these plans if absolutely necessary.

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Hospitalizations have more than tripled since Jan. 1 and are expected to continue to climb into next month. According to the province, levels currently remain manageable.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Two Saskatoon hospitals at capacity, according to internal email'
COVID-19: Two Saskatoon hospitals at capacity, according to internal email


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