Winnipeg paramedics will soon be able to administer Narcan

“I think we owe it to Manitobans, and to paramedics, to get this process moving again to continue to improve patient care and provide consistency, transparency, and accountability in the delivery of this vital health care service.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President

Winnipeg (11 May 2016) — It was recently announced that Primary Care Paramedics (PCPs) in Winnipeg are being given the green light by Medical Director Dr. Rob Grierson to administer a potentially life-saving drug used to help people suffering from an opiate/opioid overdose.

Narcan already available in rural Manitoba 

The drug, naloxone, also known by its trademark name Narcan, is a basic life-support treatment used by some PCPs throughout Canada. It has been available for paramedic use in rural Manitoba since the fall of 2014, but is only now being introduced in Winnipeg.

“The question I am hearing from paramedics is why it took so long for this to be introduced in the city when it’s been available in rural Manitoba for some time,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE).

Consistent quality care needed across province 

“We want to be able to provide consistent quality care for patients in Manitoba. This example underlines the differences we see in the delivery of health care services across the different regions and suggests again that we need to move to the consistency that self-regulation and a college of paramedicine would bring," said Gawronsky.

Gawronsky notes that while the announcement is welcome news to paramedics in Winnipeg, there needs to be a greater effort to move forward now with concluding the process begun by the Health Professions Advisory Council (HPAC) in establishing a college for the profession.

Time to move on recommendations of advisory council 

“The report from HPAC is well over a year old, and there has been very little done to implement their recommendations,” she said. “I think we owe it to Manitobans, and to paramedics, to get this process moving again to continue to improve patient care and provide consistency, transparency, and accountability in the delivery of this vital health care service.”

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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