Sask. adds 6 intensive care beds to address overcapacity, high occupancy

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The provincial government announced the addition of six new intensive care unit (ICU) beds in three hospital locations to address overcapacity and high occupancy rates.

The six new beds are spread across the province’s major centers with two at Regina General Hospital, three at St. Paul’s in Saskatoon, and one at Prince Albert Victoria Hospital.

"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 news release.

Merriman noted that the $12.5 million investment in this year’s budget is part of the first phase of a multiyear strategy. The new additions are meant to minimize “service disruption and staff redeployment.”

A further five beds will be added to the provincial capacity later in the year, the government said in the release.

Of these additional five beds, four will added to Regina’s Pasqua Hospital and one at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre.

A total of 108 new positions, both registered nurses and other healthcare professionals, will be created to help support the expansion to the province’s ICU bed capacity.

Going forward, the government’s multiyear strategy hopes to create an additional 31 ICU beds across the province. This would bring Saskatchewan’s total to 110, up from the 85 beds currently in operation.

The release also outlined that on top of the multiyear program, an additional $3 million dollars will be allocated to fund 10 new high acuity beds at the Regina General Hospital.

The reason for the increase is to help reduce demands on the ICU and “improve patient flow.”

"Our teams are continuing to build on the lessons learned from the pandemic,” Lori Garchinski, the Saskatchewan Health Authority's (SHA) executive director for provincial programs - tertiary care, said in the release. “This ongoing expansion in ICU and high-acuity capacity is foundational in advancing connected care for Saskatchewan residents."