November 30, 2000

New Ambulance Destination Policy Starts Tomorrow

Starting December 1st, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and the City of Winnipeg, Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) will implement a new ambulance destination policy. This new policy outlines which hospital paramedics will take stabilized patients to, based on:

  • The nature of the patient's medical complaint as it relates to the need for specialty services that can only be provided at a specific facility;
  • where they have recently been for care;
  • and where their family doctor or specialist admits.

Real Cloutier, Senior Director, WRHA says, "in the past, patients had the choice of requesting transfer to a hospital of their choice. This has sometimes resulted in overcrowding at emergency departments."

Cloutier adds, "Our new policy, which we are implementing on a pilot basis, will minimize intense periods of pressure on emergency rooms, by directing ambulance traffic in an appropriate and manageable way"

City of Winnipeg Councillor Jenny Gerbasi, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Protection and Community Services, says, "this policy will provide citizens with better access to care in a timely fashion when and where they need it. This is an excellent example of an effective partnering with other levels of government to help improve service to the citizens of Winnipeg".

The Fire Paramedic Service of the City of Winnipeg has partnered with the Health Authority in developing the policy. "This policy change will mean better, more supportive health care for the citizens of Winnipeg", says Wes Shoemaker, Chief Operating Officer for Winnipeg's Fire Paramedic Service. "Patients will be assured of receiving the most appropriate treatment, in the right environment".

The pilot project runs until the end of March 2001. The joint operations committee of the Fire Paramedic Service and the Health Authority continue to review and assess the pilot project and also study other initiatives to improve pre-hospital and emergency services within the Winnipeg Health region.

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