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Evening focusses on Grandview EMS

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The stewardship committee for Grandview Healthcare Solutions hosted a unique evening to raise funds and share information regarding the province’s plan to close the ambulance station in Grandview, Nov. 26.
Aside from co-ordinating a perogy supper, numerous raffles and draws to help fund the fight to save the station, the committee invited members of Tootinawaziibeeng Treaty Reserve.
“I’m very proud of the town of Grandview and Tootinawaziibeeng. It took us awhile to come together as one,” Chief Barry McKay said, noting the two communities are united for a cause.
“When we stand together as one, the government is going to listen sooner or later.”
The evening was also an opportunity to hear from representatives of the three main political parties in Manitoba.
MLA Brad Michaleski explained some of the EMS changes to the Manitoba health care system, noting the changes are to occur over a 10-year period. He pointed out rural ambulances are operated separately from hospitals and take direction from EMS control in Brandon.
“The new EMS system is designed to be portable and adaptable, to meet changes in the both short-and-long-term demands,” Michaleski said, noting investments in new technology with increased numbers of trained paramedics and better equipped ambulances operating 24/7 will provide better, more predicable emergency response throughout Manitoba.
It has been a challenge to effectively and affordably equip and staff 24/7 emergency service across the province, he said.
“The system is broken, we know that,” he said, noting many of the changes the government is making were discussed over a decade ago and recommended by experts.
MLA Dr. John Gerrard praised the two communities for working together for an issue that affects many.
Gerrard is convinced an EMS station should be in Grandview, as there was a lack of community consultation and the use of a computer program in the decision, which did not take the human element into account.
“How people here have worked together and created something very special with the three physicians that you’ve got here and the ability to deliver really excellent care for people in the region,” he said.
Wab Kinew, leader of the provincial opposition party, also commended Grandview and Tootinawaziibeeng for coming together to tackle an important and challenging issue for the area.
He also pledged to work on the behalf of the region to ensure the ambulance station is not closed in Grandview.
The NDP’s alternative vision for health care in the province, he said, is to focus on keeping healthy people at home and in their community.
“The way we do that is, we invest in things like acute care centres and EMS stations close to where people live,” Kinew said.
The NDP would also invest in primary prevention to help all Manitobans have access to good food and clean water.
“And if we invest in those upstream interventions and preventing people from getting sick, then in the long run, and in the medium term, it saves our health care system money,” he said.
The primary purpose of the gathering, committee member Sue Stirling explained, was to build on the relationship between Tootinawaziibeeng and Grandview and deal with the planned closure of EMS services in the community.
“We were blindsided by the announcement of the closure. We were angry, upset and in many cases, fearful of what this would mean for our communities,” Stirling said, noting the community had secured the services of Dr. Jim Rae and plans were underway to extend family medicine services by holding a clinic in Tootinawaziibeeng each week.
‘Our doctors have spent 20 years waiting to be able to do this and had built the relationships necessary to allow it to happen. Closing the ambulance station here was the last thing we needed.”
The province insists the EMS plan is a good one, she said, but it was developed using computer based algorithms.
“But it is our lives and our communities that the plan affects and we have the right to be fearful and to question the governments decisions in an effort to protect the wellbeing of the communities we serve, so that we have services close to our homes and lives,” Stirling said.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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