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Saskatchewan’s government hopes a new kind of health facility will give patients in its largest cities an alternative to the emergency room.

On Tuesday, Premier Scott Moe pledged $30 million for urgent care centres in Saskatoon and Regina for patients whose conditions are not life-threatening but may still require urgent care.

He billed it as a way of taking pressure off the province’s major urban tertiary hospitals, which have periodically struggled with growing wait times and overcrowding. 

“The goal is that people will be able to access care quicker,” Moe said at an unveiling in Saskatoon. 

Each of the urgent care centres in Saskatoon and Regina is expected to cost $15 million, funded through a $7.5 billion infrastructure package announced earlier this year to offset the financial impact of the pandemic.

The centres will aim to serve a tier of clients who need care quickly but are not necessarily at immediate risk of death or serious harm, such as people with broken bones, common respiratory illnesses or mental health challenges like anxiety, according to the province.

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