WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is creating an inter-facility transport service for low-acuity patients to improve healthcare access for rural Manitobans.
Shared Health has issued a request for proposals to transport hospital inpatients and personal care home residents from the Brandon, Selkirk and Winkler/Morden areas to medical appointments, diagnostic tests or treatment.
“The transport of low-acuity inpatients to and from health-care facilities can be a prolonged process that takes ambulances in rural Manitoba out of service for hours,” said Health Minister Audrey Gordon.
“Establishing a transport service specifically for these patients will reduce the demand for paramedics to complete these journeys, allowing them to remain in or near the community for emergency calls.”
Currently, ambulance services outside of Winnipeg are typically used for all inter-facility transports, primarily because patients and clients often need the benefit and comfort of being transported on a stretcher
Gordon says each base location will serve a wide catchment area within each health region and include trips to Winnipeg for care, with the intention of growing the service to other communities in the future.
“In most inter-facility transport situations, the patient or client will not require ongoing clinical supports during their journey,” said Dr. Rob Grierson, chief medical officer for emergency response services, Shared Health.
Grierson says low-acuity transport, which was recently piloted in a few communities, will free up paramedics and ambulances to respond to emergency calls and high-acuity transports.