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03/19/13 New EMS Crew Quarters Open in Stonewall

STONEWALL—Emergency medical service (EMS) crew members who serve Stonewall and surrounding areas now have a place to call home with the official opening of the new $288,000 crew quarters and training area, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced here today.

“This investment builds on our commitment to renew key health-care infrastructure in rural areas and ensures paramedics have a comfortable and efficient space when they are working,” said Oswald. “This is an essential facility for dedicated EMS staff who provide around-the-clock emergency response to their communities.”

The new facility is attached to the existing two-bay ambulance garage on the site of the Stonewall and District Health Centre. It includes work and rest areas for full-time and casual EMS staff.

 

“On-call work is demanding and this is especially true for our paramedics,” said John Stinson, chief executive officer of the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority. “This new work space provides our EMS team with an environment that ensures they are at their best when responding to emergency calls in our communities.”

This EMS crew was dispatched to over 1,100 calls in 2012 and serves the communities of Stonewall, Stony Mountain, Argyle, Balmoral and Rosser as well as the rural municipalities of Rockwood, Rosser and Woodlands. The crew quarters were built to achieve Manitoba Hydro's Power Smart Building Designation, featuring high efficiency windows, doors, heating and lighting.

Oswald said work is also underway to develop a new EMS station to serve the community of St. Laurent.

The minister said Manitoba continues to make strategic investments in emergency medical services including:

  • investing approximately $10 million annually to introduce a helicopter EMS program;
  • introducing the southern air ambulance inter-facility transport initiative, which covers the cost of flights to Winnipeg for medical testing and treatment for patients who would otherwise face an ambulance ride in excess of two and a half hours from their local hospital or personal care home to Winnipeg;
  • providing $9.7 million to purchase and retrofit a replacement Lifeflight jet that will provide life‑saving medical care and transportation from isolated rural hospitals and nursing stations to care centres in Winnipeg;
  • replacing the entire ambulance fleet since 1999, replacing 60 of those units again since 2009 and adding 15 new ambulances to bring the total fleet to 175;
  • permanently hiring additional paramedics provincewide and partnering with Red River College to deliver a primary-care paramedic program at the college's main campus and at three rural and northern sites;and
  • providing an estimated $7 million each year to fund the full patient cost of inter-facility transports.

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