April 28, 2008

WRHA Offer Would Improve Ambulance Availability

City Committee to Consider $200,000 Proposal this Morning

A meeting between the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service late last week resulted with a proposal that would have extra paramedics assigned to Emergency Departments during peak periods. Those paramedics would be responsible for monitoring of patients brought in by WFPS until their care could be transferred to Emergency Department personnel. That would mean that WFPS paramedics on ambulances would be able to leave the EDs in a timely manner in order to answer other calls.

Currently, paramedics on ambulances must remain with their patient at the ED until the transfer of care occurs to the Emergency Department staff. Having extra paramedics in the ED designated solely to the monitoring of these patients will mean the others can return to their ambulances and get back on the road.

"We think this is a reasonable solution to this on-going problem," Dr. Brian Postl, President and CEO of the WRHA, said. "The Region and WFPS have been working diligently to address this issue and continue to review processes in order to improve off-loading time. But we recognize more needs to be done."

Dr. Postl said it is estimated the cost of the extra paramedics will be about $200,000 per year and would be covered by the region. He said details of how it will be implemented could be worked out after the city has time to assess the proposal and provide feedback.

"The WRHA and WFPS have a strong partnership and very good working relationship. This unique solution is evidence of both organizations' commitment to working collaboratively in the best interests of our patients."

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