Manitoba Tories steamed over ambulance offload times
Manitoba’s Conservatives want to see NDP take greater measures to shorten offload times at hospitals
Manitoba Tories are taking aim at ambulance wait times in the province.
On Thursday, the party spoke out about concerns they have over the length of time ambulances are left waiting to drop off patients at emergency rooms.
Tory health critic Cameron Friesen said little has changed since last year when first responders reported waiting an average of more than 74 minutes to offload patients.
“The situation is not improving. Rather, the information suggests that the situation is getting worse,” said Friesen, adding the average wait time now is 78 minutes.
But the province responded on Thursday, charging those numbers were skewed.
A provincial official said wait times were actually down in the past six months. According to the province, in January of this year, the average wait time was 81 minutes. In August, that time was down to 71 minutes.
Friesen said the problem isn't just with wait times, though, it is also the costs involved in waiting ambulances.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is penalized for lengthy wait times.
In 2011, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service began charging the health authority a penalty fee of $113 for every hour paramedics had to wait with their patients in emergency rooms.
Since 2012, the WRHA has been fined close to $2 million for ambulance wait times.
The province clarified those fees are a “reimbursement” so the City of Winnipeg can put more ambulances into service to maintain fast response times.
The official also added the city has some of the fastest response times for ambulances in North America with 26 ambulances on the road during peak periods. That number is up from just 10 in 1998.