Saskatoon Health Region's Primary Health Bus is heading downtown this afternoon to a new location. On Mondays the bus will be located at The Lighthouse Supported Living to provide health-care services to residents and other clients downtown.
"We knew when we started the Primary Health Bus there was a need in the community for us to reach out and make health care more accessible," says Sheila Achilles, director Primary Health Care, Saskatoon Health Region. "Making one of our stops The Lighthouse means we will be able to make our services more accessible to those in the downtown core who wouldn't otherwise receive this type of care."
The Primary Health Bus is a partnership with MD Ambulance and is staffed by a nurse practitioner and a paramedic. Since beginning as a pilot project in the summer of 2008 the Health Bus has been able to bring services directly to under-served populations, reach those who may not receive care, and provide an alternative for those seeking care for minor conditions at hospital emergency rooms. In 2012-13, 5,717 clients visited the Primary Health Bus. Fifty-seven per cent of those clients were adults between 20 and 60 years of age and 35 per cent were children and youth.
The Lighthouse operates The Dubé Lighthouse facility, which houses supported living units for some of the most vulnerable citizens in the community, including the working poor, people with physical or intellectual disabilities, and people with addictions. The Lighthouse also operates emergency shelters for men and women, a Stabilization Unit for intoxicated individuals, and 58 affordable housing suites.
"Many clients of the Lighthouse and the wider downtown community are in need of greater health care support but are reluctant to use walk-in clinics or do not have a family doctor," says Don Windels, Executive Director of the Lighthouse. "By providing services closer to where clients live, we hope that use of emergency services and ambulance rides will be reduced."
The City of Saskatoon has shown its support for this initiative by making parking stalls available for the Primary Health Bus to park at The Lighthouse on Mondays. Saskatoon Health Region and The Lighthouse thank the City for making this location accessible.
Saskatoon Health Region's Primary Health Bus operates seven days a week from noon to 7:45 p.m. See the complete schedule on our website at https://www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca/locations_services/Services/Primary-Health/Pages/HealthBus.aspx.