Residents of the Village of Endeavour learned that the emergency room in Preeceville was closed May 8.
This move has a major impact on our village and surrounding areas. The SHA (Saskatchewan Health Authority) implemented its COVID-19 mapping plan closing 12 ER facilities around the province. Apparently the plan to close these emergency rooms is to help isolate staff and long term care clients from the virus.
Preeceville Primary Care Centre is an integrated facility so does that mean it should be deemed a non-essential ER? Other integrated facilities get to keep their ER's, so why is that? We hope the people involved with the SHA or anyone for that matter are never subjected to the situation our community now has to deal with. Now all we have to rely on is to dispatch an ambulance if there happens to be an ambulance somewhere in the area.
If the situation warrants, STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) might be dispatched. That would be depending on weather conditions and availability of the aircraft. With a headwind ETA from Regina or Saskatoon it is almost 100 minutes at about 100 miles per hour. The refuelling of a helicopter while running is illegal and takes a minimum of 20 minutes to refuel. The restart and patient loading will likely take 20 minutes. Now with a tailwind the estimated time of arrival to the big city is about 90 minutes. Math is showing anywhere from three to four hours for possible catastrophic or multiple injuries. This is the reality that our community deals with.
The alternative is road ambulance. It is 60 minutes to the closest Emergency Room that isn't open 24 hours. It is 90 minutes to an available 24-hour facility. These are ideal conditions. The reality is bad weather, poor road conditions, six railroad crossings on a CN mainline that can only travel 30 km per hour if they are hauling oil or a controlled substances or mechanical failure all play a role. Protected highway construction between Canora and Yorkton also play a factor.
That being said, what are our chances of survival out here without Preeceville's ER or in
fact do we matter to the SHA or Ministry of Health?
We heard Scott Livingstone, CEO of SHA on the John Gormley Show on May 20. He is concerned about the COVID-19 spread to long term care areas and rightly so. However, the health and safety of our community is compromised without that ER.
We think that with health professionals and engineers at the government’s disposal, proper working protocol to comply with the COVID-19 crisis and also the health and safety of communities is being left out.
Our community has been fighting tooth and nail for our facility since our first bus trip to the Legislature in May 2016 and we feel that the current closure will be just another nail in the coffin to close the place for acute care and ER.
We think our concerns are falling on deaf ears.
Mayor Brad Romanchuk
Village of Endeavour