News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 24, 2019

PROVINCE INCREASES FULL-TIME PARAMEDIC POSITIONS IN PRAIRIE MOUNTAIN HEALTH REGION

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Additional 10 Staff to Begin Work Later This Year in Communities Across Westman and Parkland Regions: Pallister

BRANDON—Ten new, full-time paramedic positions in the Prairie Mountain Health region will be filled later this year as the province continues to strengthen the emergency medical services (EMS) system, Premier Brian Pallister announced here today.

“Paramedics are highly skilled, front-line health-care providers who ensure people get the care they need, where they need it,” said Pallister.  “By investing in 10 full-time positions in the Prairie Mountain Health region, we can build up staffing levels, reduce the system’s reliance on on-call staff, and improve patient care and outcomes for people in the Westman and Parkland regions.”

Announced in Budget 2019, 35 additional full-time equivalent (FTE) positions will be posted and strategically spread out across the province.  Further announcements about regional staffing additions will be made soon, the premier noted.

Once filled, the paramedics will support the 24-7 operation of EMS stations and be available to enhance the quality of care right across the province.  The province will invest $1.4 million to fill the new positions, with $2.8 million invested in each full fiscal year.

“Emergency medical services are a key component of our health-care system, delivering professional life-saving care from the moment paramedics reach a patient,” said Callum Melvin, regional director of emergency response services, Shared Health.  “This investment in human resources will help to ensure that paramedics are well-positioned to respond to calls on a consistent, reliable basis.”

Since 2016, Manitoba has increased EMS funding by $12.1 million to allow for the creation of 149.2 new FTE paramedic positions.  The premier noted investments build on the government’s commitment to enact recommendations made in the 2013 EMS System Review that, when complete, will ensure response time targets are achieved and a sustainable EMS model is built that supports paramedics being able to work to their full scope of practice.

“A high quality, sustainable EMS system is foundational to the delivery of health services for rural Manitobans,” said Penny Gilson, chief executive officer, Prairie Mountain Health.  “Paramedics today, working to full scope of practice, have allowed the shift of what was traditionally only done in hospital emergency departments into the backs of ambulances and in some instances into people’s homes.  This means Manitobans get safe care, quicker, by the right provider and in the right setting.”

The overarching provincial standard for emergency medical response is to respond within 30 minutes 90 per cent of the time to 90 per cent of the population.  In 2017-18, 94.11 per cent of EMS calls in rural and northern Manitoba (outside the city of Winnipeg) were responded to within the provincial response time standard, with 58.24 per cent within nine minutes, 15.98 per cent within 15 minutes and 19.89 per cent within 30 minutes.

“Investing in additional full-time paramedic staff ensures Manitobans have access to timely and appropriate emergency care when they call 911,” said Brent Bekiaris, chairman, Paramedic Association of Manitoba.  “This is another excellent step toward ensuring sustainable and predictable paramedic services across the province.”

Manitoba uses a globally recognized, flexible deployment model to shift EMS resources as they are required throughout a region, ensuring timely responses to emergencies across rural Manitoba.  The Medical Transportation Coordination Centre (MTCC) in Brandon dispatches and positions the province’s emergency medical service staff and vehicles outside Winnipeg.

The MTCC was the 12th medical dispatch centre in Canada to be recognized as an Accredited Centre of Excellence by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch in 2016, distinguishing it as a high-performing agency with sound quality assurance and administrative practices in the medical dispatch industry.

Since 2016, the Manitoba government has worked diligently to develop a 24-7 paramedic workforce of skilled professionals that are better equipped to handle the daily challenges they face, the premier said.  That commitment includes:
• giving the paramedic profession the right to self-regulate under The Regulated Health Professions Act;
• purchasing 65 new ambulances, which will represent a refresh of approximately one-third of the province’s overall fleet when delivered; and
• reducing ambulance fees in the past three years by approximately 50 per cent to $250, making emergency care more affordable and accessible for Manitobans.

“Enhancing the high level of care paramedics provide means health care for Manitobans can begin when they arrive at your door,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen, at the event today with the premier.  “Hiring more paramedics and acting on the recommendations of the 2013 EMS System Review will ensure rural Manitobans get more timely care.”

For additional information on emergency medical services and response in Manitoba, visit: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/services/emergency-response

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