Province / City Solve Winnipeg's Ambulance Shortage
JULY 14, 2000 -
Mayor Glen Murray is pleased to report that a tentative, three year agreement has been reached with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to enhance ambulance service in the City of Winnipeg by increasing the number of paramedics on duty and the number of vehicles on the road during peak periods.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority will provide an additional $1.6 million for 30 more paramedics, in addition to the 17 new paramedics just hired by the City. The agreement provides for a core of 10 ambulances working round the clock, plus 6 units working during peak periods. Three of the peak units will be primarily dedicated to interfacility transfers but can be called upon to augment the 9-1-1 service as needed.
“This is a positive, and important step forward and I commend the provincial government and the health authority for recognizing that the crippling stress Winnipeg’s ambulance system was under could not continue,” said Mayor Murray. “We have a clear message for citizens today. We are ensuring full service during peak periods and people can feel confident that when they are in an emergency situation, an ambulance will be there to help.”
As a result of this agreement, existing ambulance service fees will apply, accounting for 44% of revenues. The Province and City contribute 28% each to make up the balance of the ambulance budget.
“While I am encouraged by today’s agreement,” said Mayor Murray “it is important to note that this fixes the service side of the equation, but leaves the City with significant funding challenges. We now have a clear commitment from the province to work towards an overall funding formula for the City that will be more sustainable in the long term. This is critical to the City’s ability to support cost-shared services in the coming years.”
“We are very pleased with this agreement and as Chair of the Standing Committee on Protection and Community Services, I will be recommending acceptance to my colleagues,” said Councillor Dan Vandal, who helped negotiate the agreement. “The additional resources will go a long way to improving the level of ambulance service in Winnipeg.”
“This is a very positive step for emergency medical services and patient transport,” said Wes Shoemaker, Chief of the Emergency Response Service.
“By increasing the resources and changing the distribution of our emergency response vehicles and staff, we are providing a co-ordinated approach with significantly improved service to citizens.”
The agreement will be tabled at a Special meeting of Protection and Community Services today, and if approved, will be forwarded to
City Council for deliberation on Wednesday, July 19, 2000.
Total number of Winnipeg paramedics 1999 - 111
Total number of Winnipeg paramedics 2000 - 128
Total number of Winnipeg paramedics 2001 - 160*
*(30 added by proposed agreement and 2 added by departmental restructuring)
Total ambulance budget now - $15.2 million
User fees - 48%
City - 31%
Province - 20%
Total ambulance budget proposed agreement - $16.8 million
User fees - 44%
City - 28%
Province - 28%
Total ambulance vehicles now - 10
Proposed agreement - 10 + 6 vehicles running in peak periods