SGI Provides Funding to Sleep Disorders Centre

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Feb. 7, 2006 – SGI is furthering its commitment to traffic safety by providing almost $188,000 in funding to the Sleep Disorders Centre at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

The centre serves to diagnose and treat patients with sleep disorders. The most common disorder treated at the centre is sleep apnea, which causes excessive daytime sleepiness.

“Sleep apnea is a major cause of drowsy driving, which is a very serious traffic safety concern,” Minister responsible for SGI Glenn Hagel said. “Driving while drowsy is an impairment and can be as dangerous as driving after drinking. Your reflexes are slower, you can’t concentrate on the road and you’re at risk for falling asleep at the wheel.”

Physicians are required to report any condition that may affect a person’s ability to drive to SGI’s Medical Review Unit (MRU), including suspected cases of sleep apnea. In many instances, the physician indicates they have referred the patient to the Sleep Disorders Centre for assessment. The MRU then requests further reports from the centre to determine whether or not the person is able to drive safely.

“As providers of health care in our province, we are pleased to participate in this partnership,” said Maura Davies, President and CEO, Saskatoon Health Region. “The additional funding will improve access to the Saskatoon Sleep Disorders Centre for those individuals most at risk and thus expedite the diagnoses and management of obstructive sleep apnea of Saskatchewan drivers.”

The funding will allow the Health Region to increase the number of clients it can assess on a weekly basis from 24 to 32 – meaning more than 400 additional assessments annually.

“This funding means SGI will have faster access to the information it needs to assess a motorist’s ability to drive safely, making Saskatchewan roads safer,” Hagel said.

For more information, visit www.sgi.sk.ca.