Saskatchewan

NDP promises to reduce waits at hospital ERs

The NDP in Saskatchewan is promising to reduce wait times at hospital emergency rooms.

NDP releases plan to trim emergency waits to 15 minutes

Cam Broten is leader of the provincial NDP in Saskatchewan. (CBC)

The NDP in Saskatchewan is promising to reduce wait times at hospital emergency rooms.

"Anyone who's been to an emergency room over the past years knows the waits are long," NDP leader Cam Broten said Thursday. 

Broten said if the NDP won the April 4 election he would hire more nurse practitioners, open more extended-hours medical clinics and have paramedics treat patients at home.

The additional ER nurses would get patients to needed care faster. The initiatives on clinics and paramedics would reduce pressure on ERs, Broten says. 

"The plan is there," Broten said. "We can make real progress, we can reduce waits."

According to background material supplied by the NDP, the plan would cost an additional $6 million per year.

The NDP promised that people needing resuscitation in an emergency room would receive care immediately. The pledge also has the following targets (to be achieved within three to four years):

  • Emergency cases: 15 minutes.
  • Urgent cases: 30 minutes.
  • All other less urgent cases: 1 hour.

Health Minister Dustin Duncan, a member of the Saskatchewan Party government led by Brad Wall, said the province has committed to lowering wait times by 60 per cent by 2019, a modification of an earlier pledge to eliminate wait times.

According to Duncan, there has been progress.

"What we've seen in the last year is some positive news in that our wait times for emergency departments generally are stable and that's despite seeing about an eight per cent increase in the volume," Duncan said.

He noted that over $4 million has been spent on initiatives to reduce wait times.

While Duncan attributed the problem of long wait times to previous NDP administrations, Broten said the Saskatchewan Party government has been in office during a boom in the economy and had the financial capacity to address the issue.

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