MD Ambulance, the company that supplies emergency medical services for the Saskatoon health region, says it needs more money to keep pace with growing demand.
"We've had about a 30 per cent increase [in service calls] in the last five years," Dave Dutchak, president of MD Ambulance, said Friday following the release of a province-wide review of EMS.
Dutchak's company, with 21 vehicles, handles an average of 75 calls to transport patients every day.
Calls for service are more frequent, and there is ongoing pressure to keep response times as low as possible, he said.
"With the same amount of staff dealing with those type of increased call volumes, something is going to give somewhere," Dutchak said.
"There's stress on your people. Your response times to your current calls go up, and essentially you fall behind."
Dutchak said his company needs additional money to hire more staff and expand its fleet. It currently receives $3 million a year in public funding, which is supplemented by user fees that all EMS providers are allowed to collect from patients.
Dutchak said another $3 million would allow the company to hire 26 more workers and add two more ambulances to its fleet.
The EMS review found that while the province provides funds for ambulance services, local health regions determine how that money is spent.
The review said some operators are concerned that dollars for EMS are being redirected to other health priorities in a region.
Duncan Fisher, a special adviser in the Saskatchewan Health Ministry, said there is not much the government can do about that.
"We provide Saskatoon with a global budget," Fisher said. "They have the responsibility for determining how that will be allocated across all the services that they provide, including EMS."