Manitoba Government makes STARS contract permanent

Manitoba Government makes STARS contract permanent

28-Jun-2011 Source: Govt of Manitoba

The province has signed a memorandum of understanding with the non-profit Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) to make the helicopter ambulance program permanent in Manitoba, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“The STARS team has made a real difference in Manitoba’s flood fight and we thank them for their hard work,” said Oswald.  “Helicopter transports save lives and improve outcomes for patients and this new agreement between Manitoba and STARS will form a permanent helicopter ambulance program for Manitoba and maintain the life-saving ambulance helicopter services currently in place.”

The minister noted that STARS arrived in Manitoba this spring to ensure uninterrupted ambulance response during the flood and that contract has been extended to Sept. 1, 2011, as land ambulance service continues to be affected by this year’s unprecedented flooding.  The agreement signed today sets the stage for these services to continue after that date as a permanent program.

Since arriving in Manitoba on April 1, STARS has responded to 60 calls and transferred 34 critically-ill patients.

“We are honoured to work in collaboration with the many dedicated emergency services and
health-care providers in Manitoba,” said Dr. Greg Powell, chief executive officer of STARS.  “We will continue working hard to provide rapid and sophisticated medical interventions for critically ill and injured patients.”

The minister also announced that as part of the long-term planning for a Manitoba program, the province will build a helipad at Health Sciences Centre as part of a new, seven-storey, $39-million diagnostic imaging facility.

“Building the helipad as part of a new building at Health Sciences Centre will ensure direct access for all patients who need the highest level of emergency care,” said Oswald.  “The facility will also house state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging equipment, providing a site for all diagnostic services used by Children’s Hospital.”

More than $10 million in equipment will be located in the new facility including:

  • a new pediatric MRI, waiting room, nursing station and support spaces;
  • an upgraded pediatric CT scanner;
  • an  upgraded adult/pediatric cardiac catheterization lab; and
  • a new operating room and angiography suite.

“This new facility enhances Winnipeg’s expert imaging and diagnostic tools, both for children and adults,” said Real Cloutier, chief operating officer of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.  “The added benefit of the helipad at HSC will improve the speed with which critically injured people can get to Manitoba’s trauma centre for care.”

Until the new facility is complete, pediatric patients will continue to access the current pediatric MRI program that uses an existing machine at Health Sciences Centre.  The new facility will be located on William Avenue beside the Ann Thomas Building, which contains the adult and pediatric emergency departments, critical-care centres and operating rooms, and will be connected to the Children’s Hospital and to the future Women’s Hospital by tunnels and skywalks.

Construction on the new facility is expected to begin in August and will take approximately two years to complete.

STARS, a non-profit charitable organization established in Alberta, has responded to more than 20,000 emergencies since it began in 1985.  The service responds to critically injured and ill patients, with approximately half of its missions being inter-hospital while the other half are on-scene calls such as on highways, in remote areas and industrial work sites.

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