12/03/2013 11:18 EST | Updated 02/02/2014 05:59 EST

Ottawa certifies Regina General Hospital rooftop air ambulance heliport

REGINA - Transport Canada has certified a rooftop heliport for Regina General Hospital as part of a plan to improve air ambulance service in southern Saskatchewan.

Health Minister Dustin Duncan says the $3.4 million heliport will allow emergency medical teams to transport patients about 15 minutes faster.

Duncan says for a patient, that time saving can make a significant difference.

Ambulance helicopters flown by the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society, known as STARS, will begin using the new facility later this month.

Construction of a similar heliport for the new children's hospital in Saskatoon is expected to begin before the end of 2016.