New paramedic positions are being added to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Regina to help meet the increasing needs of area residents. A total of 24.5 full-time equivalent paramedic positions will be phased in over the next three months.

“We’ve heard from residents and paramedics that we need to do more to improve ambulance response times,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said. “We are committed to providing Saskatchewan patients with timely access to emergency medical services. This increase in Regina EMS staff will help patients and better balance the workload for our paramedics.”

EMS call volumes in Regina increased by over 14 per cent from 2020-21 to 2021-22, with almost 27,000 calls answered in 2020-21 and nearly 31,000 calls in 2021-22.

The new paramedic positions will help to staff two additional ambulances in Regina along with two additional smaller paramedic response units.

A paramedic response unit has one advanced care paramedic who can help primary care paramedics on more complex calls or can arrive at an emergency before the ambulance and begin providing care immediately until the ambulance arrives.

Two new EMS coordinators will also be hired to support paramedics throughout the province with clinical education, training and quality assurance.

The additional positions will be funded through the existing EMS budget within the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) for a total cost of $2.4 million annually.

“Investing in additional ambulance capacity is not just about adding resources, it’s about improving the quality of life for our paramedics and ensuring the timely delivery of critical care to those in need in our province,” SHA Provincial Services-Community Care Executive Director Rod MacKenzie said.

The SHA and the provincial government are working together to explore opportunities for additional recruitment and retention initiatives, and increased training access for paramedics. A major expansion in post-secondary training seats for health care programs was announced yesterday, which includes an increase from 152 to 252 Primary Care Paramedic seats at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Regional Colleges.