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Pilot project aims to cut Regina and Saskatoon ambulance wait times

A new pilot project in Saskatchewan aims to address ambulance offload delays by having a nurse evaluate emergency medical dispatch calls.

The government of Saskatchewan said this triage system will improve patient flow by having a registered nurse determine if the call is an emergency, and if it’s not, direct patients to alternative, appropriate health care options.

“This new support system will streamline services for our EMS providers and help ensure that patients are seeing the right health care provider in the right location at the right time,” Health Minister Everett Hindley said.

Click to play video: 'Medavie Health Services West recruits from Australia'

Medavie Health Services West recruits from Australia

This new system kicks off in June with a dedicated nurse available 12 hours a day within each of the Regina and Saskatoon medical communication and coordination centres or “MCCCs” that are operated by the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Medavie Health Services West.

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The province said that a large number of patients who call 911 are taken to a provincial emergency department, which it said is not always the most appropriate facility.

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“Providing appropriate care to all patients in the most suitable setting is the best way to ensure individual care needs are being met and that our ambulances are available for the next response. This additional layer of assessment will help improve patient care and avoid overwhelming emergency departments,” said Rod MacKenzie of the SHA.

“Developing and identifying appropriate health tools to best suit the changing needs of our communities is vital to the evolution of care. Adding secondary triage with Registered Nurses, as an enhancement to the Medical Priority Dispatch System used in MCCCs, will provide our region with additional care options when transport may not be the most appropriate option,” said Gerry Schriemer of Medavie Health Services West.

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