After learning of staffing issues and paramedics being called to Maples Long Term Care Home, the Mayor of Winnipeg wants more action to be taken.
In order to keep up with calls, the City of Winnipeg says they are in need of at least 10 more ambulances, not including COVID-19 needs.
Mayor Brian Bowman says that he is thankful for the paramedic assistance at Maples Long Term Care Home.
"The events in the last few days at Maples Personal Care Home can really only be described as sickening," Bowman says.
Over the course of Friday to Saturday, 911 operators received 18 calls from Maples. Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Chief John Lane says the crews arrived immediately following the first call, but that once they received their second call, the District Chief for a paramedic team arrived to help determine the needs of the facility. Over the night on Friday and the night on Saturday paramedics were on site to aid the facility.
Lane says that paramedic services will be available for Maples but that it is not sustainable to do. He says in the fall, the City alerted the province, whom they are contracted ambulance providers for, that they were in need of 10 more ambulances. Lane says that the city is already in need of these ambulances, noting that on Friday night, without the addition of the calls from Maples, they were backlogged.
"It is absolutely not sustainable," Lane says. "We certainly appreciate the ability to staff up the additional ambulance with the support from Shared Health for covering overtime that is necessary to provide that coverage but the system was already well beyond its capacity."
The Province is proposing that paramedics could be used to elevate staffing needs at personal care homes. Lane says their staff are tired but they have 20 people that they could call to help. If there were to bring on new staff, Lane says this would need to be done gradually.
"We have to do it in smaller groups because of the COVID situation but we could mobilize that quick quickly."
The Chief notes that the city has been providing paramedic services on the behalf of the province for five years without a contract.
"We need everybody doing their part and we are going to do our part," Bowman says.
Bowman is asking for the province is bring much-needed support to their paramedic system. The Mayor says he is welcoming any help they can get from the province and federal government, including bringing in the military.