The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) will be transporting one patient to Ontario to receive intensive care services due to capacity challenges that are compromising the quality and availability of critical care for all Saskatchewan residents. This decision is a result of the prolonged high demand for critical care in Saskatchewan.
“We recognize the stress this will cause the families affected,” said Scott Livingstone, CEO. “We continue to work every day to maximize capacity to provide care as close to home as possible, but this decision is necessary to maintain the quality of critical care services our patients need. We are extremely thankful to our partners in Ontario for stepping up and providing this support.”
Up to six transfers total are expected by end of day Wednesday, with a longer term assessment of out-of-province support beyond Wednesday currently being finalized.
Saskatchewan’s Provincial Emergency Operations Centre continues to assess available resources from other provinces and the federal government to support Saskatchewan’s ICU needs.
As national supports are scarce, it is much more effective to transfer a small number of patients out of province to relieve pressure on the health care system, than it is to secure and relocate highly skilled ICU staff.
Earlier this year Saskatchewan received patients from Manitoba, after that province experienced a rise in COVID related ICU admissions. We intend to learn from that experience as we manage our own surge in critical care demand.
The single best way to reduce the strain on the provincial health care system and reduce ICU numbers is to get vaccinated. Vaccines are safe and effective at preventing illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
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