“It’s prudent that the government act now to fill those 400 positions before closing any sites, because until that happens, no improvements to patient care are possible.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (05 July 2017) — The Manitoba government is continuing with rapid changes to health care by announcing yesterday that it will be moving ahead with a large-scale transformation of the province’s EMS system.
2013 report recommended 400 new EMS positions, far cry from 29
As a result, 18 rural EMS stations that the government considers to be “low call volume” in nature will be closed. Five new stations will also be added, and the government will invest $1.7 million into creating 29 new primary care paramedic positions.
The government stated that the changes resulted from recommendations in a 2013 report on the province’s emergency medical services system and their goal is to improve response times in rural areas. That review also called for the addition of 400 new EMS responders in the province. With a population that continues to grow, Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE), says the 29 positions announced fall well short of report’s recommendation.
Adequate staffing needed in current EMS stations before others close
“It’s prudent that the government act now to fill those 400 positions before closing any sites, because until that happens, no improvements to patient care are possible,” says Gawronsky. “It’s so important that the government move cautiously when closing sites to ensure that the remaining stations are staffed appropriately, getting the right care to Manitobans when they need it.”
The new stations are slated for the communities of Miniota, Cowan, Alonsa, Manigotogan and Eriksdale. The province says they will all be staffed 24/7. No timeline has been given for their construction, but the Health Minister says it could take as long as 10 years to fully implement all of the proposed changes to the system.
Stations scheduled to close include those in Pinawa, Boissevain, Cartwright, Elkhorn, Ethelbert, Grandview, Reston, Hartney, Elie, Rossburn, Prawda/Reynolds, Riverton, Manitou and Swan Lake.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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