Local ambulance operators are applauding a move by the provincial government to supply a one-time subsidy to help EMS deal with inflationary pressures and rising fuel costs.
The government announced a subsidy of $2.85 million for 105 ground ambulance services in 108 locations across the province.
Medavie Health Services West provides ambulance services to Moose Jaw, Central Butte and the surrounding area.
Kyle Sereda, chief of paramedic services, said the subsidy is a positive step.
“This shows that they are listening and trying to support our operations in delivering that frontline care over the past couple of years as well as recently with the high cost of fuel and inflation,” Sereda said.
He added that the subsidy will help them financially with fuel costs as ambulance operators can’t pick and choose when and where they are driving.
Without the subsidy, Sereda said that the increases in costs would be passed on to the consumer, which means more expensive ambulance bills. Not only has it been an increase in fuel costs, but also the price of medical supplies and medical masks.
“I believe the government has considered that in supporting it and providing this a subsidy to help offset some of those costs,” he said.
The need for an ambulance service in the Moose Jaw area continues to increase as well. Over the past year, Medavie Health Services West’s kilometres travelled over the past year have gone up by over 20 per cent and call volumes have been up by 17 per cent.
In 2021, their fleet put in about 300,000 kilometres and responded to about 6,300 responses including transfers, 9-1-1 calls and community support such as standing by for sporting events.
Overall in the province last year, ambulance operators responded to more than 171,000 calls for service and traveled over 13 million kilometres.