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The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it’s taking immediate steps to address overcrowding and staffing issues at hospitals in Saskatoon.

The health authority says as part of its action plan, it’s to add 32 beds by the end of this month to help transition patients from acute care to other settings that are more appropriate.

It says it is to deploy primary health-care staff into hospitals to identify patients who could be cared for at home or in the community.

The authority says it’s also to deploy additional staff to support patients using temporary in-patient beds.

In the next 30 days, it says it plans to have more staff work weekends.

Last week, 118 emergency department staff wrote to health authority leadership in a letter, asking them to deal with overcrowding.

“The actions we have in this plan are aggressive but are achievable,” Andrew Will, the health authority’s CEO, told reporters on Tuesday.

“We definitely have hard work ahead.”

St. Paul’s Hospital had violated the fire code in early November,as beds were in hallways and obstructed exit doors.

The health authority said in its report, released Tuesday, that by mid-December there will be more nurses, social workers and security officers in emergency rooms to enhance safety.

It also aims to enhance the community intravenous program so that people who partake in it can avoid emergency department visits.

Within the next 90 days, the health authority said it’s to procure additional long-term and convalescent beds in the community.

It said it’s to also increase staffing for home care and palliative care. It will add three ICU beds at the Royal University Hospital.

Over the next three to six months, the health authority said it is to implement a rapid access system that would see nurse practitioners and doctors accept more patients.

It said it will also implement “more robust” home health monitoring to help patients prevent falls or better manage their chronic diseases.

The health authority is to complete an assessment of its Saskatoon hospitals by the end of May to determine the number of acute and long-term care beds needed to meet demands.

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