First Of Its Kind Partnership Takes A New Approach To The Development Of A Health Facility

The Government of Saskatchewan and Ahtahkakoop Cree Developments (ACD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance a new approach in the development of a new Urgent Care Centre in Saskatoon. This Urgent Care Centre will offer Saskatoon residents an alternative to emergency departments for illnesses and injuries that are not life threatening, as well as mental health supports.

“Today is an exciting day for the government, for our partners at Ahtahkakoop, and for the residents of Saskatoon who are looking forward to this new urgent care centre,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said. “Urgent care centres are innovative facilities that will help us meet our province’s evolving health needs, and this partnership is an innovative approach to delivering care.”

Under the MOU, the government and ACD will identify suitable potential locations, develop design requirements for the facility, and develop potential economic models and project costs. It is anticipated that the facility would be built and owned by ACD and leased to the Saskatchewan Health Authority who would staff and operate it.

“The Saskatchewan Health Authority is excited to work with partners to progress this important project that will offer patients an alternative location to get the right level of care for urgent, but non-life-threatening health concerns which require same day treatment, rather than going to the emergency department,” Saskatchewan Health Authority Interim Chief Operating Officer Derek Miller said.

The MOU is a first step in formalizing the partnership. The MOU expires December 31, 2022, and may be extended for up to 12 months. As the project planning progresses, subsequent partnership agreements may be negotiated between government and ACD.

“On behalf of the Ahtakakoop Cree Nation I am very proud to enter into this partnership with the province of Saskatchewan on the new Urgent Care Centre in Saskatoon,” Ahtakakoop Cree Nation Chief Larry Ahenakew said. “Today’s announcement is historic and paves a path forward to improved access to urgent care, new supports for mental health and wellness and opportunities for training and employment for indigenous and non-indigenous citizens of Saskatchewan.”

When complete, the UCC will provide enhanced access for Saskatoon residents to quality patient care for an illness or injury that requires urgent attention and will be available 24 hours, seven days a week. The centre will offer 24-hour/seven-days-a-week access and is also expected to lower wait times for health care issues requiring urgent medical attention.

The Saskatoon Urgent Care Centre is one of two centres announced as part of the government’s $7.5 billion capital plan to stimulate the province’s economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Regina urgent care centre is currently under construction.