Despite the increasingly important role of paramedics in Canada’s healthcare system, the Canadian Health Act does not cover paramedic services. Anecdotal evidence indicates that the cost of paramedic services prevents many people in need from accessing this care. This article explores public perceptions of the cost of paramedic services in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Using a qualitative research design, we collected data from 56 participants in focus group sessions and semi-structured interviews designed to explore perceptions of paramedic services in Saskatchewan.
The data indicated that participants perceived the cost of paramedic services to be too high, and that this perception may limit the use of paramedic services during medical emergencies. The data also suggested a lack of understanding of how paramedic service costs are calculated. Overall, participants expected the government to do more to subsidise these costs.
The results revealed a disconnect between public perceptions about the cost of paramedic services and the initiatives designed by the provincial government to alleviate these costs. They also highlight the need for better public education about and access to government programs designed to alleviate the cost of paramedic services.
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