Under The Dome

Strengthening of EMS system will improve pre-hospital care in rural Manitoba


Manitobans deserve predictable and reliable ambulance service, no matter where they live across our province. As our government improves patient care, we are developing a much more integrated, responsive, reliable and sustainable emergency medical services (EMS) system. One of the new facilities coming through these improvements is planned for the Riding Mountain constituency.

Recently, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced the creation of Shared Health Services Manitoba, an entity tasked with better planning and distribution of health resources across our province so that Manitobans have access to the right care, at the right time, in the right place. Shared Health Services Manitoba will be responsible for physician recruitment, laboratory and diagnostic services and procurement among other areas, and for the management of the EMS system.

Our government is developing a truly provincial EMS system with round-the-clock staffing and reliable ambulance service whose roots lie in a 2013 report commissioned by the previous government (the 2013 Manitoba EMS System Review). However, unlike the NDP, who didn’t act on the recommendations of the report they commissioned, our government is acting on the expert advice in order to provide better care for Manitobans.

Part of our plan includes the construction of five new rural EMS stations to provide strategic coverage for Manitobans and to improve response times. Improved response times are important because paramedics can provide high-quality pre-hospital care to Manitobans who are sick or injured in their time of need.

One of the new EMS stations will be built in Miniota, with EMS facilities in Birtle and Hamiota merged into that location. As part of the reorganization to improve ambulance service and response times with full-time staff, the current EMS station in Rossburn will eventually be closed.

There have been several comments on location of stations and response times. The emphasis is not on bricks and mortar but the time it takes for an ambulance to arrive with paramedics on board when you call 9-1-1 in your time of need. The goal under this plan is for an ambulance to reach the doorstep of 90 percent of Manitobans within 30 minutes 90 percent of the time.

Our government’s investment in round-the-clock staffing will expand our strong provincial EMS network and bring a much more rapid response to emergency calls, while reducing a reliance on on-call and call-back paramedics in rural areas.

Our reorganization and improvement will provide rural Manitobans with much more comprehensive pre-hospital patient care by highly skilled paramedics, as well as an inter-facility transport system that is integrated, reliable and sustainable. We are committed to ensuring all Manitobans have access to emergency medical services when and where they are needed most.

Greg Nesbitt is the MLA for the Riding Mountain constituency. He can be reached at 1-844-877-7767, 204-759-3313 or by email at gregnesbittmla@mymts.net.