Since the announcement of upcoming EMS facility closures from Health Minister, Kelvin Goertzen, there have been a number of municipalities who have met with their local MLA’s in the attempt to reverse that decision.
Of the 18 facilities slated for closure, 11 of those are part of Prairie Mountain Health. Communities such as Boissevain and Oak Lake have met with their MLA for Arthur-Virden Doyle Piwniuk to express their concerns for their volunteer EMS services, as well as their communities as a whole.
Piwniuk says the plan is not written in stone and EMS facilities will be monitored for the number of emergency calls received up until the actual closures take place. He says its more about the front-line medical care and acquiring and training of full time paramedics while moving forward.
Rural communities rely heavily on their First Responder Ambulance/Emergency services. Piwniuk explains the concern as volunteers look at retirement over the next 10 years.
“Right now there are a lot of volunteer ambulance paramedics and as time goes on those volunteers are going to retire and so that is what we’re looking at is making sure that there is going to be paramedics for the future. We just want to make sure that the recruitment is going to be important. And already, when it comes to Prairie Mountain Health they have increased the doctors already. It’s about front-line services for patients.”
When it comes to potential changes to the EMS closure plan, Piwniuk adds, “It depends on keeping tabs on where the (emergency) calls are coming from and that we keep important paramedic services available to rural Manitobans.”