More funding for EMS staffing in southeastern Saskatchewan communities has been approved.

Carnduff and Wawota were among 27 centres named in the 2023-24 provincial budget for an uptick in staffing under the EMS stabilization funding. 

Saskatchewan Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said the additional spending through the EMS stabilization fund is aimed at assisting rural and remote ground ambulance staff.

"In some cases what this will allow them to do is, add more staff or hire more staff," he said. "Sometimes it's also a bit of a retention or recruitment issue because we have ambulance providers that might not be able to fully staff for a fully salaried position there and it becomes a recruitment or retention issue."

Feedback from officials across the province played a role in which communities were selected for more staffing but so did SHA data. Hindley said they examined their existing SHA contracts, ambulances, and private providers to help minimize staffing shortages or concerns to fully staff their ambulances. 

"Not everybody that goes into training for this ends up being a paramedic with a ground ambulance service provider," he said. "Some go to fire departments, some end up going to the private sector." 

There are a few other problems that the province is looking at solving when it comes to emergency services in rural areas.

"You know we do have some other challenges when it comes to paramedics and to our EMS services in this province. We're adding more training seats when it comes to paramedics in our post-secondary institutions and we need to do that," said Hindley, "We've had continuous conversations with the groups like the paramedic services chiefs of Saskatchewan, with the private operators like METABEE, which operates in Saskatoon, plus some other communities as well."

The extra funding will support the addition of 33 FTE positions across the province.