Lifeflight air ambulance doctors urge province to ‘put on ice’ plans to privatize service – Winnipeg

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Sixteen air ambulance doctors with Lifeflight Manitoba say they aren’t eager to budge should the government privatize the province’s emergency air services.

Lifeflight provides quick inter-facility air ambulance transportation for seriously ill or injured Manitobans within 200 kilometres of Winnipeg.


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In a letter obtained by Global News, the Lifeflight doctors explain to Health Minister Cameron Friesen their concerns over the proposed privatization.

The letter focuses on safety and transportation concerns.

In bold print the letter states, “We the medical staff of Lifeflight Manitoba Air Ambulance wish to make it clear that we are not prepared to work in an environment that provides substandard patient care and increases risk to patients and providers.”

For the 33 years the program has been running, the doctors wrote, there had been no safety incidents.

“When our service provider switches from a publicly owned entity to private industry, there will invariably be pressure on crews to take risks for the sake of maintaining profit margins,” the letter states.


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The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU) says the proposed change is risky.

“These doctors and their years of medical experience should be taken seriously, and the rush to privatize this vital public service should be put on ice.” MGEU spokesperson Jodee Mason said.

The MGEU said the government should instead put patients first, Mason added.


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In July, the Manitoba government said it won’t proceed with the plans unless the same level of service and safety is provided, while also providing better value.

The letter ends by asking Friesen to recognize the right to equal access to health care across the province and to put patients first.

Global News reached out to the province on Nov. 4 for comment. They have not yet responded.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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New vehicles coming to Ambulance NB fleet in attempt to cut rural wait times – New Brunswick

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Ambulance New Brunswick is launching a pilot project and adding more a handful of vehicles to its fleet, in an effort to reduce response times in rural communities.

Five rural communities — Minto/Chipman; Grand Bay-Westfield; Saint-Quentin/Kedgwick; the Acadian Peninsula and Blackville — will each have a new Rapid Response Unit (RRU).


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“We’ll have two or three, multiple calls back-to-back in the areas,” says Crossman.

“Sometimes, the neighbouring ambulance is responding 40 or 50 minutes away.”

Though the pilot project was announced by government in July, the launch comes days after a 13-year-old died as the result of an ATV collision in Haut-Lamèque, which took an ambulance a reported 40 minutes to respond.

READ MORE: N.B. Acadian Society launches petition to cancel ambulance management contract

When the fleet is officially launched in November, the vehicles will look similar to this one

Callum Smith/Global News

The New Brunswick Acadian Society (SANB) launched a petition Tuesday, calling on the province to cancel Medavie’s contract with Ambulance New Brunswick.

“It’s a problem when people kind of ask themselves, in an emergency situation, ‘well, should I call an ambulance or should I drive myself to the hospital,’” asks Eric Dow of SANB.

Eric Dow of the New Brunswick Acadian Society (SANB) says the petition was launched as a result of overall performance over the years

Callum Smith/Global News

Ambulance New Brunswick says based on results in other jurisdictions, the RRUs have proven their success.

“They really have been able to demonstrate the benefit,” says Ambulance New Brunswick vice-president Matthew Crossman. “Specifically in rural communities, where there are long transport times and multiple calls.”


The RRUs differ from ambulances because they will have only one paramedic, rather than two. They also don’t have the ability to transport patients.

The new vehicles will respond, treat patients as needed until an ambulance arrives, and then be free to respond to another call as needed.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Man dead following head-on crash with ambulance in Brampton

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A man has died after his BMW collided head-on with an ambulance in Brampton Wednesday night, Peel Regional Police say.

Officers received a call just before 8:30 p.m. regarding a collision near McMurchy Ave. and Queen St. W. The ambulance had been travelling west on Queen St. W. and was waiting in the intersection to make a left-hand turn, when a BMW travelling east struck it head-on, Peel police Const. Danny Marttini told the Star.

The male driver of the BMW died at the scene. Two paramedics suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Police said the driver of the BMW was alone in the vehicle. The ambulance did not have a patient on-board at the time of the collision.

The Peel Paramedic Union tweeted a picture of the heavily damaged ambulance saying, “Paramedicine is an ultra hazardous profession.”

They also tweeted confirming that both paramedics were in stable condition and enjoying a hospital visit from the union president.

A tweet from Peel Paramedics acknowledged the fatal collision, saying “these calls leave us all shaken.”

“Our deepest condolences to the family of the other driver.”

Investigators are canvassing the area and speaking to witnesses. While the investigation is ongoing the intersection of McMurchy Ave. and Queen St. W. will remain closed.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Major Collision Bureau at 905-453-2121 ext. 3710 or call Peel Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

Claire Floody is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @claire_floody

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