“For the health and well-being of our members, we’d like to see more of these stretchers implemented across the province as soon as possible." — Brent Curry, MGEU Component Director, Emergency Medical Services.
Winnipeg (24 Feb. 2015) — A new report from Southern Health–Santé Sud reveals that power-assisted stretchers are paying for themselves by reducing injuries to Manitoba paramedics.
In October 2012, the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE) reported on a power-assisted stretcher trial that was being piloted in Southern Health-Santé Sud Emergency Medical Services with funding from the regional health authority and Manitoba Health.
MGEU/NUPGE helps prove power-assisted stretchers reduce injuries
Seventeen power-assisted stretchers were purchased for a two-year trial with the goal of determining whether the equipment, which costs approximately double that of a standard ambulance stretcher, would reduce injuries to paramedics caused by lifting patients.
The trial is now complete and, according to a report released by Southern Health-Santé Sud, it has been a complete success.
“Back injuries have decreased by at least 71 per cent in the years since implementation (total decreases were from 7 in 2010 and 6 in 2011 to 0 in 2012 and 2 in each of 2013 and 2014.),” according to the report. “Annual total direct costs for time lost injuries overall has decreased by $112,775.00 since 2012 ... With a lifespan of approximately 10 years per stretcher, savings will continue for 7 years after this equipment has paid for itself.”
Report recommends province-wide use
The report goes one step further by recommending that “there be consideration towards a province wide change.”
That is something MGEU EMS Component Director, Brent Curry, would like to see happen sooner rather than later.
“For the health and well-being of our members, we’d like to see more of these stretchers implemented across the province as soon as possible. If that wasn’t reason enough, it’s also pretty hard to argue with the cost-savings the Regional Health Authority has experienced. I think what we’re seeing in the report is a pretty strong endorsement to expand this program.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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