Government of Saskatchewan adds 6 new ICU beds across 3 hospitals
5 more beds to be added later in 2022
The Government of Saskatchewan has added a combined six new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in three provincial hospitals.
As of May 2, there are two new beds at Regina General Hospital, three at St. Paul's Hospital in Saskatoon and one at Prince Albert Victoria Hospital.
In a news release on Monday, the province said the beds were added to address overcapacity and high occupancy rates.
"Our government has taken crucial steps forward to begin delivering on our commitment to provide more ICU beds to benefit our sickest patients, such as those requiring surgery and advanced procedures," Health Minister Paul Merriman said in a statement.
"The $12.5 million investment in this budget is the first of a multi-year strategy to support the addition of ICU beds to the provincial system this year, which will improve patient flow and surgical capacity."
Merriman said the added beds will allow existing ICU beds to be used to their full potential and will result in less service disruption and staff redeployment.
The province said plans are currently underway to add another five more beds. That will include four ICU beds for Regina's Pasqua Hospital and one at Yorkton Hospital. The beds will be operational later in 2022, according to the province.
Furthermore, a total of 108 full time positions, such as registered nurses and other health care providers, will support the new ICU beds.
"There's the human resource challenges out there. But we've identified people that were upscaled during the pandemic that we can get to make sure those beds are attended properly," Merriman told CBC at the legislature building Monday afternoon.
Merriman said adding ICU beds is a big undertaking.
"We've got to have certainly the capital. We have to have the space. We also have to have the people. We have to have those very specialized positions which are very sought after by everybody in Canada, North America ... those highly specialized intensive care positions. There's some training that we can do, we have done."
The province said the ICU bed expansion is the first phase of a multi-year strategy to create 31 additional intensive care unit beds across the province. That will equal bring the total to 110 beds.
In addition, a $3-million increase in the 2022 budget will fund 10 high-acuity beds at Regina General Hospital. This, the province said, will help to reduce demands on the ICU and improve patient flow.
"We are grateful for the province's investment in strengthening critical care in our urban, rural and northern regional hospitals," said Lori Garchinski, Saskatchewan Health Authority's (SHA) executive director for provincial programs - tertiary care, in a statement.
"Our teams are continuing to build on the lessons learned from the pandemic and this ongoing expansion in ICU and high-acuity capacity is foundational in advancing connected care for Saskatchewan residents."
Saskatchewan currently has 85 adult ICU beds across nine locations.
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