The Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) is celebrating its 5th anniversary of saving lives in Saskatchewan.
Since 2012, STARS has carried out more than 4,000 missions to more than 500 locations across the province, and today Health Minister Jim Reiter, Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit and Crown Investments Corporation Minister Joe Hargrave joined staff and patients to mark this occasion and to announce the renewal of funding from the Ministry of Health, SaskPower, SGI, SaskTel, SaskEnergy and Crown Investments Corporation.
“The provincial government is a proud partner of STARS and recognizes the significant role it plays in providing life-saving care for the people of Saskatchewan,” Reiter said. “I am pleased to confirm today that the Ministry of Health will provide $10.5 million in funding in 2017-18.”
“The geography of Saskatchewan is part of what makes us who we are, but it comes with its own set of challenges,” Ottenbreit said. “STARS ensures that people facing traumatic injury in a rural or remote location have access to emergency health care.”
“Our Crowns are proud to support the important service that STARS provides to this province,” Hargrave said. “Crown employees work in all corners of our province and it is important for them to know that if they ever needed emergency services, STARS will be there for them.”
Through the renewed funding agreements with the five Crowns, STARS will receive $10 million, or $2 million per Crown, over the next five years. With bases in Regina and Saskatoon, STARS operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week providing emergency air medical services to patients across the province, especially those in rural and remote communities.
“We are proud to have become an integral part of Saskatchewan’s health care system in the last five years, working alongside our local partners in the chain of survival,” STARS president and CEO Andrea Robertson said. “When seconds count, STARS is honoured to give those in need a second chance.”
The first patient to meet the STARS crew who saved her life was Carrie Derin, a Regina resident who required STARS’ services when she was hit by a falling tree in 2012. Another STARS patient is Adair O’Grady. The Neilburg area farmer was inadvertently run over by a truck and sustained multiple critical injuries.
“In the back of the STARS helicopter, I wondered if I would survive,” O’Grady said. “But my flight paramedic and nurse gave me hope and encouragement to fight for my life.”
Since 2012, four helipads have been built at or near hospitals throughout the province to accommodate STARS. The new Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan will include the first permanent helipad in Saskatoon.
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