Province Purchases 52 New Ambulances with New Suspension System to Provide Smoother Ride for Patients, Reduce Injury Risk for Paramedics
September 1, 2015
A new $6.2-million provincial investment for the purchase of 52 new replacement ambulances will improve patient comfort and safety when being transported by ambulance, Premier Greg Selinger announced today. The new additions to the Manitoba fleet include a new suspension system to improve the ride for patients and better protect paramedics on the job.
“We want to provide even better care for patients across Manitoba,” Premier Selinger said. “These new ambulances will help provide a more comfortable and safer ride for patients while reducing the risk of injury to paramedics. That’s important to us.”
After extensive research and testing, the ambulances will have what is known as a liquid-spring suspension. Testing took place over the course of a year to make sure the system would work in all types of Manitoba weather.
“This collaborative effort of government with front-line paramedics has resulted in an ambulance that accomplishes two goals: improved comfort for the patient and improved safety mechanisms for both the patient and paramedics,” said Cameron Ritzer, director, Paramedic Association of Manitoba. “As an emergency call or inter-facility transfer is often a stressful event for a patient, the Paramedic Association of Manitoba supports improvements in the safety, comfort, and improved quality of care for Manitobans.”
The system has a feature that lowers the patient loading height into the ambulance, which reduces the risk of back injuries for paramedics. The feedback on ride quality from patients, medical staff and paramedics was all positive.
“We’re very pleased that front-line paramedics were consulted in this redesign and even happier to see their recommendations result in improved designs and features,” said Michelle Gawronsky, president, Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union. “Paramedics use these vehicles day in and day out, so getting their feedback on how to improve them is invaluable.”
Costs for the new suspension system are included in the full ambulance vehicle cost. Ambulances will be delivered to EMS stations across the province, starting in early September 2015, the premier noted. The new ambulances will be located in all health regions including four in the northern region, nine in Southern Health–Santé Sud, nine in Winnipeg and 12 in Prairie Mountain Health.
“We know our paramedics do everything they can to make patients comfortable,” said Ron Van Denakker, chief executive officer, Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, which will be receiving 18 of the replacement ambulances for use in communities throughout the region. “We’re all looking forward to getting our new ambulances in the fleet so we can further safeguard paramedic health and extend the comfort they provide to patients and include an improved quality of ambulance ride.”
The premier noted the investments in replacement ambulances builds on work over the next 10 years to implement the recommendations of the Manitoba EMS System Review conducted in 2013. This includes 30 new front-line paramedic positions in the Prairie Mountain Health and Southern Health–Santé Sud regional health authorities, and a new advanced-care paramedic program at Red River College that will be launched this fall.
Additional recent investments includeproviding an estimated $11 million each year to fund the full patient cost of inter-facility transports.
For more information on emergency medical services in Manitoba, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/ems/index.html.
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