The Gull Lake Ambulance Service was not one of the four, and a review of the Saskatchewan Health Authorities Annual Reports (2018-2019 and 2020-2021) reveals little has changed since my retirement in 2017. Having worked in EMS for 32 years, I understand the importance of funding, particularly for rural ambulance services. Non-profit service underfunding has long been a problem. Gull Lake Ambulance Service is a non-profit service and has been chronically underfunded for many years. Indeed, the ambulance would have left the community years ago if it hadn't been for the commitment of Gull Lake rural and urban municipalities to fund shortfalls through the Gull Lake and District Road Ambulance Corporation.
Throughout my career, I submitted numerous financial statements and operational surveys to determine the service's funding requirements. While we did see funding increases, the impact on funding shortfalls was always minimal. In reality, calculating funding for the operation of an ambulance service is not difficult. The service in Gull Lakes is staffed by a combination of on-call hours during the day and standby hours at night. The Gull Lake Ambulance Service is adequately staffed and runs as efficiently as possible. The annual audited financial statement submitted to the SHA each year contains all of the information on the actual cost of operating a service in this manner.
While the annual audited financial statement may show a break even, this is due to municipal contributions covering annual funding shortfalls. When the Saskatchewan Health Authority reviews financial statements, municipal funding should not be considered as a revenue source. Municipal funding is a revenue source that is primarily used to cover annual shortfalls, and this must be taken into account when determining provincial funding levels.
Hopefully, the funding provided to non-profit communities in this budget helped to close their funding gap, and that more funds will be available in future budgets to assist Gul Lake and other non-profit services with their funding shortfalls.