The Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon, Sask. on Thursday, May 2, 2019.
Liam Richards / Saskatoon StarPhoenix
The 20 minutes of transport time expected to be shaved off thanks to the new heliport at Saskatoon’s Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital could be the difference between life and death in critical situations, says the province’s health minister.Prior to Thursday, STARS Air Ambulance helicopters have landed at Innovation Place on the University of Saskatchewan campus and patients have then been transported by ambulance to Royal University Hospital. That process could take up to 25 minutes. The new heliport that became operational Thursday on the roof of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital will allow patients to be delivered to emergency departments significantly faster.Once the children’s hospital and affiliated adult and children emergency departments open this fall, it’s expected that patients will arrive at RUH within three minutes of the helicopter landing.“This heliport will greatly enhance emergency services for Saskatchewan residents by allowing rapid transportation and transfer of patients in life-threatening situations,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said in a statement. “Landing directly at the hospital will save lives when every second counts.”The Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, which is attached to Royal University Hospital, is set to open this fall. When that happens, the existing emergency department at RUH will be shut down and two new departments — one for adults and one for children — will open at the children’s hospital.There will be a single entrance to the emergency department just a few steps north of the existing one. Patients of all ages will go in and, once triaged, be sent to either the adult or children emergency department.According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, RUH staff had anticipated that the helipad would open ahead of schedule and before the new emergency departments opened. As such, they practiced moving mock patients from the heliport to both the existing emergency department in RUH and the new emergency departments in the children’s hospital.When complete, the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital will have cost $285.9 million to build. Construction of the building was largely complete this spring and the SHA is now working to install equipment and furniture as well as ensuring staff and physicians are trained in where everything is and how everything works.It is not yet clear what will eventually occupy the space currently used by RUH’s existing emergency department.Related