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Michaleski pledges support for province's ambulance plan


The provincial government’s plan to overhaul Manitoba’s ambulance system is a good news story for rural Manitoba, says Dauphin MLA Brad Michaleski.
Amid boos and jeers, Michaleski affirmed his support for the plan in front of a hostile crowd of more than 500 at a community meeting in Grandview, last week.
“I am not saying this because I am a part of the government. I say this as a person that has experienced emergency care, someone who has sat on municipal government. When I saw the new EMS plan, I realized that this is a good news story for rural Manitoba.”
The changes are based on a 2013 report commissioned by the Manitoba government which recommended the closure of 23 low-volume ambulance garages and the construction of five new EMS stations.
Grandview’s EMS station is one of those slated for closure.
According to the province, the changes will result in a more co-ordinated and responsive rural EMS system.
“It is not a bricks and mortar system,” Michaleski said.
“I fully support the new EMS system because it works for municipalities and it works for rural Manitoba.”
Those at the meeting challenged Michaleski about his commitment to his constituents.
“Everything I have heard from Grandview, all the concerns, I understand the anger and the concern on this,” he said.
“But if I look at the new system, again I support the new system, because it works for Ste. Rose, it works for Roblin, it works for everybody.”
And while he admitted the new system, as proposed, might be a step backward for Grandview, the province had to look at the bigger picture and take into account the “unpredictability of emergency services.”
“I have never said anything bad about Grandview EMS. I have never said anything bad about Grandview ambulance. But at a provincial level this is a major problem in rural Manitoba,” Michaleski said.
“What is important is that when you make that phone call somebody is coming. Maybe it does not apply to Grandview, but in a lot of communities, they are dealing with on-call, volunteer paramedic systems. And our commitment is to invest in 24/7, fully-trained paramedics in locations around the province. It makes sense to me. In a working system, it totally makes sense.”
Michaleski added the new system is expected to take up to 10 years to implement and nothing will change until everything is place.
In the meantime he will continue to relay the concerns of Grandview residents.
“I hear what you are saying in Grandview and I am taking those messages back to Winnipeg.”