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GOVERNMENT FUNDS 60 NEW PARAMEDIC POSITIONS - Additional Staff will Reduce Health-care System's Reliance on On-call Staff (West St. Paul)

GOVERNMENT FUNDS 60 NEW PARAMEDIC POSITIONS IN RURAL MANITOBA - Additional Staff will Reduce Health-care System’s Reliance on On-call Staff: Goertzen

April 30, 2018 - WEST ST. PAUL -- The Manitoba government is moving forward with plans to enhance the province’s emergency medical services (EMS) system by providing funding for 60 new, full-time paramedic positions, including more than two dozen in the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“The investment in 60 new full-time paramedic positions will ensure highly skilled professionals are available for emergency dispatch and response at all times of the day, any day of the week, reducing the reliance on on-call staff,” said Goertzen.  “Paramedics are a critical part of our health-care system, and the new positions are another step in our government’s commitment to ensuring Manitobans have access to consistent, reliable health care in their community.”

“The addition of 26 new full-time paramedic positions for the Interlake-Eastman region will ensure highly-skilled professionals are available at a moment’s notice if and when they need them,” said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler, who made the announcement in an EMS garage in West St. Paul on Goertzen’s behalf. “The new positions will be strategically placed throughout the region, ensuring residents have access to consistent, reliable health care no matter where they live.”

First announced in this year’s budget, the 60 new positions will reduce EMS reliance on on-call staffing positions by hiring full-time positions instead.  New full-time equivalent (FTE) positions will be spread out across the province including at EMS stations located in the following communities:

  • West St. Paul (9.7 FTE);
  • Teulon (4.85 FTE); and
  • Gimli (4.85 FTE).

 An additional 6.65 FTE within the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA) will also be hired to support flexible deployment across the region, as well as provide sick leave or vacation coverage for crews.

“Paramedics provide a high level of medical care from the moment they reach the patient,” said Helen Clark, chief operating officer of emergency medical services with Shared Health. “Professionally trained paramedics today are able to perform many life-saving activities and patients in medical emergencies are encouraged to call 911 to receive the care they need.  Adding full-time positions ensures a rapid, effective response to emergency calls in rural areas.”

Some positions will be filled by staff currently working in the system on an on-call basis. Other positions are expected to be posted shortly, with paramedics hired to fill the vacancies and be on the roads later this year, Goertzen said.

Ron Van Denakker, CEO of the IERHA, said funding will allow for a new model of EMS staffing that increases the availability of paramedics for the entire region.  For example, Van Denakker noted when staff in Teulon are off, ambulances from Stonewall, Selkirk and St. Laurent would be positioned to provide coverage in the Teulon area.  Once the new, full-time positions are filled, the Teulon station will be able to provide 24-hour services, he said.

“After extensive consultation with our paramedics, we’re introducing a temporary, 12-hour shift rotation instead of on-call service to ensure appropriate rest periods for staff and improved access to care for residents,” said Van Denakker.

In June 2017, the province announced the implementation of recommendations from the 2013 Manitoba EMS System Review.  In addition to increasing the number of full-time paramedics in rural Manitoba, changes being implemented include increasing training for paramedics, adding more ambulances and resources for inter-facility transports and restructuring station locations south of the 53rd parallel.

“Ensuring ambulances in Manitoba are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week is necessary to ensure patients have access to emergency care and that the paramedics responding are properly rested.  This investment is an excellent step towards ending long on-call shifts and allows paramedics to deliver those services in a predictable, responsive and safe manner,” said Eric Glass, administrative director, Paramedic Association of Manitoba.

Manitoba uses a globally recognized, flexible deployment model to shift EMS resources as they are required throughout a region, ensuring timely responses to emergency situations across rural Manitoba.  The Medical Transportation Coordination Centre (MTCC) in Brandon is responsible for the dispatch and positioning of the province’s emergency medical services outside of Winnipeg.

In 2015-16, more than 98 per cent of EMS calls in rural and northern Manitoba were responded to within the provincial response time standard, with 62.14 per cent within nine minutes, 15.66 per cent within 15 minutes and 20.38 per cent within 30 minutes.

“The addition of 60 new full-time paramedic positions is an important step in implementing recommendations from the review, allowing us to improve our emergency service complement based on advice from an expert task force,” said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said today at an event on behalf of Goertzen in West St. Paul.

For additional information on health system transformation in Manitoba, visit: www.gov.mb.ca/rightcare/index.html.

 60 New EMS Positions Across Manitoba(Second from far-left) Interlake Eastern RHA’s CEO, Ron Van Denakker, was amongst elected officials and EMS staff celebrating the announcement of funding for 60 new paramedic positions in Manitoba.

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