Reducing Emergency Department wait times remains key priority for Prince Albert Parkland
Highlights from the April 26, 2017 Prince Albert Parkland RHA board of directors meeting in Prince Albert.

Published on Thursday, April 27, 2017
Author: Doug Dahl

Several initiatives have been implemented as part of efforts to reduce wait times for patients in the Victoria Hospital’s Emergency Department, the Prince Albert Parkland Regional Health Authority board of directors heard at their meeting on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 in Prince Albert.

As part of a presentation on behalf of the Emergency Room Quality Team, Tammy Gillis, Nursing Unit Manager, Victoria Hospital Emergency Department (ED), outlined changes that have been made to help reduce wait times for patients. Quality improvement events have focused on a variety of factors that influence the wait times and the overall amount of time patients are in the emergency department, as well as efforts to improve quality and safety. Those initiatives include:

  • Improving the flow of patients requiring admission to the mental health inpatient unit;
  • Implementation of suicide prevention screening;
  • Improve referrals for clients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to community-based supports to reduce future ED visit needs; and
  • Changing processes to reduce the time it takes to get laboratory samples taken, tested and results returned.

Gillis also outlined investments that have been made, with the support of the Ministry of Health, to address the volume of patients. Physician practice hours at the Victoria Hospital have increased by seven hours daily with third physician on shift from 7 p.m. to midnight daily, and a second physician beginning a shift at 9 a.m. In addition, an additional registered nurse was added for the later afternoon and evening shift to assist with flow and increased patient care requirements with 3rd physician coverage, as well as an evening porter and ward clerk.

While the past two months have seen the time from triage to initial assessment by a physician increase above the Canadian standard target, the Victoria Hospital ED has been within the target for the previous 12 months. Gillis said that some challenges continue due to overall system flow. When the Victoria Hospital is at overcapacity it can leave some patients waiting in the ED until they can be admitted, which affects the overall capacity within the department.

As part of the team’s report, Lyle Grant, Director of Care at the Parkland Integrated Health Centre (PIHC) in Shellbrook, outlined some of the changes in the patient profile of those attending that facility’s Emergency Department. Grant said that over the past three years, the PIHC’s emergency department has seen an decrease in the number of less urgent patients, while seeing more urgent patients. The increased complexity does present challenges as it can require more intensity for nursing staff and physicians.


Other notes from the meeting include:

  • The board of directors received information about the charges and fees that are charged to long-term-care residents. As of July 1, 2017, the percentage of monthly income charged for resident fees, on top of the minimum $1,086 monthly fee, will rise from 50% to 57.5%. The maximum monthly income upon which the fee is based will also increase from $3,370 to $4,200. With these adjustments the maximum monthly fee will increase from $2,065 to $2,689. About half of the residents in Prince Albert Parkland’s facilities will continue to pay the minimum amount. The fees are set by the Government of Saskatchewan, which will continue to subsidize more than 80 per cent of the total cost of operating long-term care facilities.
  • Prince Albert Parkland Health Region has an operating deficit of $1,130,814 for the 11 months ended February, 2017. After required transfers to capital for long term care reserves, mortgage payments, parking equipment purchases and energy performance loan payments the deficit increases to $2,093,206. Based on the most recent results, PAPHR is forecasting an operating deficit of 839,000 for the fiscal year. After inter-fund transfers the forecast shows a deficit of $1,888,882 for 2016-2017.


Materials from the RHA board of directors meeting can be found at 


The next regular meeting of the Prince Albert Parkland Regional Health Authority board of directors will be held on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 in the main boardroom at 1521 6th Avenue West, Prince Albert. The meeting begins at 1 p.m.

For more information or to arrange interviews contact:
Doug Dahl, Communication Officer
306-765-6409 or 306-961-6217

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