Residents in Lanigan and area will have improved access to emergency care. 

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced that it is extending the virtual physician program to the emergency department (ED) at the Lanigan Hospital. Through this initiative, residents of Lanigan and the area will benefit from having enhanced access to ED services and continue to receive safe, high-quality, patient-centred care as close to home as possible. 

A release from the SHA states that the virtual physician program is a temporary measure to help maintain access to local ED services while the SHA continues to stabilize health human resources, particularly in rural and remote communities. It notes that the provincial government’s Health Human Resource (HHR) Action Plan is key to ensuring that recruitment and retention of health-care workers remains a priority. 

As part of an overall strategy for improving access to health services in Lanigan, the community will benefit from the addition of a third physician position and one recently approved new Nurse Practitioner position. 

While recruitment efforts are underway to fill the two new positions in Lanigan, the virtual physician program will continue to address the immediate medical needs of patients presenting at the ED when local physicians are not available to provide on-site coverage. 

Using the existing technology of HealthLine 811, the virtual physician program provides nursing staff with remote access to a physician. All patients are assessed, triaged, and receive treatment based on their care needs. This will ensure that there is physician coverage in the ED to provide safe, quality care. 

In addition to Lanigan, the virtual physician program has successfully been launched in Porcupine Plain, Oxbow, Broadview, Davidson, and Gravelbourg. 

Individuals requiring emergency services should call 9-1-1. Non-urgent health-related questions may be directed to the provincial HealthLine 24/7 service by calling 8-1-1.