Sask. Moves Forward with Helicopter Medical Service
April 6, 2011
SASKATCHEWAN MOVES FORWARD WITH HELICOPTER AIR MEDICAL SERVICE
Saskatchewan is proceeding with a major new component of emergency medical services. Medical helicopters based in Saskatoon and Regina will support faster, more responsive emergency medical care for patients across the province.
The province has signed a service agreement with Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS), a non-profit organization that provides rotary wing air medical transportation in Alberta. Premier Brad Wall made the announcement today in Regina with STARS President and CEO Dr. Greg Powell and private sector partners.
"This is an opportunity to save lives and better serve patients and families," Wall said. "Helicopter air medical service can clearly benefit patients, particularly those in rural and remote areas. Our goal is to provide all Saskatchewan people with access to highly-skilled medical professionals and timely emergency care. This initiative is possible because of the vision and support of STARS and generous financial contributions from our private sector partners."
"We are excited to work alongside the existing emergency services and health care providers in the province," STARS President and CEO Dr. Greg Powell said. "Together, we will work to ensure the critically ill and injured receive a high level of medical care and rapid transportation. We commend and appreciate the leadership and support of the Saskatchewan Government as well as our corporate partners who have demonstrated their commitment to the people of Saskatchewan."
The province is investing $5 million in the initiative in 2011-12, and an estimated $10 million annually in future years. The remainder of the estimated costs of developing and operating the service will come from STARS fundraising and from contributions from the community and corporate sector, including $5 million from lead donor Crescent Point Energy.
Today, Mosaic announced its commitment to the program with a $5.5 million contribution.
"Investing in the health of Saskatchewan people makes sense," Mosaic Potash Operations Senior Vice President Norm Beug said. "Mosaic is excited to help bring STARS to Saskatchewan and we look forward to working with government, corporate partners and local communities on this important initiative."
"We're proud to be a part of this great initiative," Crescent Point Energy's Vice President of Marketing and Investor Relations Trent Stangl said. "The STARS program is an essential service that will benefit everyone in Saskatchewan. We're excited to see it launched."
Husky Energy, Rawlco Radio and Enbridge have also committed financial support to the service. Details about other corporate sponsors will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Premier acknowledged the support of Health Minister Don McMorris and the contributions of MLA Rod Gantefoer, who led the project team for helicopter air medical service. The service is expected to be available in the spring of 2012 in southern Saskatchewan, and autumn of 2012 in central and northern Saskatchewan. It will be used primarily to serve critically ill and injured patients in rural and remote areas of the province.
Helicopter air medical service will be co-ordinated with Saskatchewan's existing ground and fixed wing air ambulance services. Currently, more than 100 road ambulance services provide emergency medical transportation for patients across the province. Saskatchewan Air Ambulance (Lifeguard) operates three fixed-wing aircraft based in Saskatoon.