A Collaborative Emergency Centres (CEC), such as the one being set up in Canora, may not be the answer to the Preeceville Hospital emergency bypass situation but it may offer a possible solution. Addressing the problems caused by doctor shortages and other health care concerns in Preeceville, the following information was obtained from the Saskatchewan government website.
CECs are an innovative way to improve access to both primary health care and emergency care. CECs were first introduced in Nova Scotia. This model of health care delivery improves access to stable, reliable primary health care, reduces emergency room visits and increases patient and provider satisfaction.
Saskatchewan has introduced Collaborative Emergency Centres to address the challenges of providing health care in rural communities. The province’s first CEC opened in Maidstone as a pilot project in September 2013, followed by Shaunavon in November 2013 and Canora in July 2014. There are eight in total in the province.
CECs are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A primary health care team, including physicians and nurse practitioners, offer extended access hours during the day. Overnight (8 p.m. to 8 a.m.), a registered nurse and a paramedic provide urgent care assessments and treatments, with physician oversight provided through the emergency medical services system. Physicians working with the STARS (air medical services) provide overnight consultation by phone.
The majority of patients presenting at Saskatchewan CECs after 8 p.m. have their needs met through treatment at the CEC or referral to the primary health care team the next day.
When patients arrive at a CEC with serious or life-threatening injuries, they are transported by ambulance to the closest, most appropriate medical facility. Saskatchewan patient options in emergency situations include STARS, air ambulance or ground ambulance depending on their location and condition.
The bene? ts to patients include, a 24/7 access to emergency services, evening and weekend access to primary health care providers, stable access to urgent and emergent care, access to same day and next day appointments, shorter waits at Emergency Departments and stable access to urgent and emergent care.
CECs help ease the burden on rural physicians by reducing their call coverage to local emergency departments and make the most of existing resources by allowing nurses and paramedics to work their full scope of practice. Also, CECs support stability of health providers in the community by offering a better worklife balance and a collaborative work environment.
“The CEC is not a new concept,” said MLA Ken Krawetz. “The pilot project began in Maidstone in September of 2013 and has been met with a positive response. It is about a bigger team picture and keeping doctors in rural Saskatchewan. The concept is to use other services like RNs, paramedics, STARS and the nurse practitioners to keep the work load down for the physicians.
“Preeceville maybe considered for a future project if it works in the other three centres that are being used as pilot projects. The CEC may become the future of health care in Saskatchewan. It allows for a more innovative way to provide health care,” Krawetz said.