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GV, Ethelbert losing ambulance stations


Three area communities are among those affected by a Manitoba government decision to close 18 EMS stations in rural Manitoba.
Stations will be closed outright in Ethelbert and Grandview while the station in McCreary will be consolidated with a new station in Alonsa.
Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen said the changes were based on recommendations in a 2013 report.
That report suggested closing low-volume stations and reducing the number of stations in rural Manitoba by 18.
“It’s less about where the stations are and more about where ambulances are,” Goertzen said in announcing the plan.
While low-volume stations will be closed, Goertzen said five new stations will be built and staffed with full-time paramedics.
In addition to the one at Alonsa, new stations will be constructed in Miniota, Cowan, Manigotogan and Eriksdale and will be staffed 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.
Goertzen said with ambulances will be more strategically located and staffed, the changes will improve response time in rural Manitoba over the current system which sees some stations operating part-time or on an on-call basis.
“Stations don’t show up at the front door to give you service, ambulances and paramedics do,” Goertzen said.
“It’s not about where your station is located, it’s where these ambulances and paramedics are being deployed.”
Additional stations closing and not being consolidated with other stations include Boissevain, Cartwright, Elkhorn, Hartney, Pinawa, Reston, Rossburn, Elie, Prawda/Reynolds, Riverton, Manitou, Lundar and Swan Lake.
Stations in Baldur, Wawanesa and Treherne will consolidate with Glenboro’s station while the station in Oak Lake will consolidate with Virden’s updgraded station.
Stations in Birtle and Hamiota will consolidate with the new station in Miniota and Bissett will consolidate with Manigotogan’s new station.
Some of the closed stations will be transformed into storage or maintenance facilities, while others will be used for ambulances to park if they are needed to service two areas at the same time. Other stations in a poor state of repair will be abandoned.

Staff Writer