First Responders

Res #: 23-02M
Number: 23
Year: 2002
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Health

Resolution 23-02M

WHEREAS, health care is a provincial responsibility; and

WHEREAS, many rural areas are more than one hour away from ambulance service and health care facilities; and 

WHEREAS, many rural communities have formed First Responder Units to help alleviate problems caused by increased travel and response time to health care facilities; and

WHEREAS, these First Responder Units receive various levels of financial support from the urban municipalities, rural municipalities and/or health authorities (formerly health districts) to assist in the formation, training, equipping, and operating costs; and 

WHEREAS, First Responder Units do not have the authority to direct bill patients for their services; and 

WHEREAS, after recruiting and providing training to individuals within a community, they occasionally relocate to another area of the province; 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby the Provincial Government to provide adequate financial support to ensure equality and quality in First Responder Units throughout the province.

Response From Honourable John T. Nilson, Q.C.:

First Responders are valued members of Saskatchewan's emergency medical services response system. I recognize there are approximately 1,300 First Responders across the province who are dedicated volunteers responding to emergency situations and providing support to patients.

Funding that is provided to the Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) through the Emergency Services Enhancement Fund can be directed to supporting First Responder groups within the health regions. RHAs are encouraged to reimburse volunteers for their costs upon successful completion of the First Responder Program and agreement from the volunteer to provide First Responder service.

The costs for continuing education training are generally supported by the RHAs. Saskatchewan Health provides a $3,000 annual grant to the First Responders' Conference which provides continuing education training for First Responders.

Please be assured, we are working with all our health care partners to make the changes needed to strengthen and sustain our health care system into the future.