STARS officially launches operations in Saskatchewan
STARS began providing helicopter air ambulance services for critically ill and injured patients in southern Saskatchewan on April 30, following a brief ceremony at the new Regina base attended by dignitaries and former patients.
“This is a historic day for Saskatchewan. The launch of the STARS helicopter air medical service for our province is made possible today through the strong partnership of the health system, community minded businesses, and our government,” Health Minister Don McMorris said. “People across southern Saskatchewan now have the comfort of knowing that in an emergency, help is closer at hand than ever before.”
Each helicopter crew includes two pilots, a critical-care nurse and an advanced care paramedic. An emergency physician trained in pre-hospital care and transportation is also available by telephone for every emergency response and travels in the helicopter whenever medically necessary.
STARS signed a service agreement with the Government of Saskatchewan in April 2011 to provide helicopter air ambulance services from bases in Regina and Saskatoon. Since then, STARS has been working closely with government, corporate donors, and partners in health care and emergency services to facilitate the launch of both bases. The Regina base is the first to open in the province, with the Saskatoon base set to open in the fall of 2012.
“Together with our partners in emergency services and health care, we will work to enhance access for critically ill and injured patients,” said Andrea Robertson, STARS President & CEO. “We appreciate the support of the Government of Saskatchewan, our corporate supporters and the community for making this a reality.”
STARS is beginning operations at the Regina base with daylight hours, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and will proceed toward 24 hours a day later in the summer. STARS phases in base openings to increase comfort level with providing service in an air medical environment when the majority of clinical and aviation staff are new. This provides for the safest environment for patients and the STARS team.
Several major donors have provided contributions to the STARS Saskatchewan program including Crescent Point Energy, Mosaic, PotashCorp, Enbridge, Enerplus, Husky Energy and Rawlco Radio.