07/16/2015 09:26 EDT | Updated 07/16/2016 05:59 EDT

Residents of Saskatchewan town question the value of part-time emergency room

PREECEVILLE, Sask. - There are calls from residents and opposition politicians to increase emergency services in Preeceville, Sask.

Currently, the hospital provides emergency services every other week but Roberta Wiwcharuk with the Sunrise Health Region says Preeceville has not had around-the-clock emergency coverage for several years.

According to the Sunrise Heath Region website, the community is 100 kilometres away from the City of Yorkton and 50 kilometres from Canora, which also has a hospital.

Wiwcharuk also says a new doctor has been recruited for Preeceville who will start in January.

But that's little consolation to the relatives of Floyd Head, a 74-year-old who was forced to go to Yorkton, then to Regina — which is 258 kilometres from Preeceville — after suffering a heart attack in late June.

He died a few days later.

Relatives say when Head's wife phoned the local hospital, she was told the emergency department was closed because of a doctor shortage.

Their son, David Head, says the situation is frustrating for residents of the town of 1,000 people.

"I can't stand here and say the outcome of our story would have been different, if the hospital in Preeceville had been open," he says.

"But I definitely like his chances a lot better if, on these time sensitive issues, we can get the meds and we have the support staff and the equipment we need right there."