First Responder Compensation
Res #: 29-12A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Health
WHEREAS rural communities require the services of volunteers to act as first responders; and
WHEREAS there is currently no payment from Saskatchewan Health Services for this service;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to implement a payment to the volunteer first responders to help cover their out-of-pocket costs while performing their duties.
Response from Honourable Don McMorris, Minister of Health:
Our government recognizes that First Responders are a key part of the EMS system in many rural communities throughout Saskatchewan. First Responders volunteer to help their communities by providing an immediate response to patient care needs while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
Regional health authorities are responsible for the daily delivery of health services and programs, including emergency service and First Responder programs. The health regions recruit individual First Responders, co-ordinate First Responder groups to support their local community needs, notify EMS dispatch agencies of First Responder contact information and emergency notification procedures, and organize and financially support First Responder initial training and continuing education. A number of regions also provide some equipment and support other costs.
Regional health authorities also have a policy framework in place around leadership of First Responder groups, emergency call rotation/notification procedures, medical leadership and the relationship between Road Ambulance to First Responder groups. In addition, municipalities often provide physical space, equipment and other supports to First Responders.
We are aware that regions have faced some challenges in keeping a vibrant First Responder system in the province. The Mobile Health Services Advisory Committee, which was formed in response to the EMS Review (2009), plans to conduct a review of the First Responder Program over the next year to develop a provincial strategy for First Responders.