About two months have passed since STARS air ambulance service was suspended in Manitoba, and CBC News has learned ground ambulances are actually responding faster to calls than typical helicopter response times.
Provincial officials suspended STARS service in Manitoba in December after three critical incidents. Officials said then ordered an external review of the program and its safety by a B.C. trauma expert.
Since STARS has been suspended, there have been 21 missions that qualified for a helicopter dispatch, but all 21 of those calls were responded to by ground ambulance.
According to Manitoba Health, 20 of those 21 calls were resolved an average of 26 minutes faster with ground ambulances than they would have been with a STARS helicopter.
Provincial officials aren’t saying when they’ll restore STARS service in the province.
Manitoba Health Minister Erin Selby said officials received a report from the trauma expert three weeks ago, but it wasn’t complete.
“We thought it was the final report, but STARS and the author of the report have gone back to finalize a few things,” she said. “We will be sharing that as soon as we have it received and final.”
But Tory MLA Myrna Driedger isn’t satisfied with the province’s response.
“They dragged it on for two months and left everyone in the dark,” she said.
Selby said the air ambulance service will return to Manitoba but not until it’s safe to do so.