Eleven new full-time paramedics and two part-time paramedics are now working in Southern Health-Santé Sud as part of a series of investments to enhance the province’s emergency medical services (EMS) system, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.
“Manitobans deserve to have predictable, reliable ambulance services across the province,” said Goertzen. “These investments mean more full-time paramedics will be working in rural Manitoba, ensuring care is available when and where it is needed most.”
The new paramedic positions include four full-time paramedics in both Carman and Morris. Three full-time and two part-time positions have been filled in Gladstone.
“Today, paramedics are highly trained professionals who provide care from the moment they reach the scene until the patient they are caring for arrives at a health-care facility,” said Cameron Ritzer, chairperson, Paramedic Association of Manitoba. “In an emergency, Manitobans are treated by the highly skilled paramedics arriving with the closest available ambulance.”
When stations are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with full-time staff, they are able to provide consistent and reliable services. Today, certain stations are not fully staffed, forcing them to remain closed or to only operate 12 hours per day, requiring coverage for that area to be moved from other sites in the region, the minister noted.
“Paramedics are able to provide a high level of care and a broad range of skills to patients including ensuring people are able to breathe, providing life-saving medication and caring for wounds. That care continues as a patient is transported to the nearest facility able to provide the required level of care,” said Jane Curtis, chief executive officer, Southern Health-Santé Sud. “We’re pleased the region has been able to hire these staff to support stronger emergency medical services for Manitobans.”
The changes announced by the province in June 2017 include implementation of recommendations from the 2013 Manitoba EMS System Review including relocating or restructuring of a number of station locations across Manitoba (south of the 53rd parallel).
Other changes include increasing the number of full-time paramedics in rural Manitoba, increasing training for paramedics, additional ambulances and more resources for inter-facility transports.
The minister noted these recommendations were validated by an expert task force made up of government and regional officials, as well as paramedics. This included reviewing data from Manitoba Transportation Communications Centre on call volumes and dispatch to identify opportunities to strengthen the system.
“The changes will allow us to better locate the services and match resources with actual call volumes to achieve response time standards,” said Goertzen.