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First Manitoba Crew Now Ready to Provide Emergency Care on STARS Helicopter: Oswald

News Release – Manitoba
February 22, 2012

A permanent Manitoba crew of 14 paramedics, nurses and pilots is now responding to emergency calls across the province with the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) helicopter ambulance, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“These paramedics, nurses and pilots are a critical link in patient care and their training and expertise will truly help to save lives. We’re continuing to strengthen our emergency response services through our partnership with STARS and we are extremely pleased that we now have Manitobans, some of whom are returning home, as part of this permanent, specialized team,” said Oswald.Three registered nurses and four paramedics have completed the intensive 10-week training program through STARS including classroom instruction led by an emergency‑care physician, simulations and ride-alongs with an experienced air-medical crew, and online work. An additional nurse and paramedic are expected to complete the training and join the Manitoba crew next week. Seven experienced pilots are also permanently stationed in Manitoba.

“It is a privilege to partner with our colleagues in health to provide increased access to service for the critically ill and injured in Manitoba,” said Andrea Robertson, STARS president and chief operating officer. “STARS will assist in the provision of highly specialized services, utilizing a critical-care team including nurses, paramedics, physicians and our aviation team of pilots and engineers.”

Each helicopter crew includes two pilots, a critical-care nurse and a critical-care paramedic. An emergency physician trained in pre-hospital care and transportation is also available by telephone for every emergency response and travels in the helicopter whenever medically necessary.

The minister also noted the government has signed a 10-year service agreement with STARS to provide helicopter emergency medical services at a cost of approximately $10 million per year. STARS is a non-profit organization that operates on a shared-funding model in which costs are paid through government funding, community fundraising, individual donors and corporate support. Costs include the helicopter, maintenance, training and other operational costs such as night vision.

STARS has responded to more than 150 emergencies since arriving in Manitoba in April 2011. It works in partnership with Manitoba’s air and land ambulance fleet to provide seamless emergency care, said Oswald, adding a helipad is currently under construction at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg to provide for even more rapid transportation directly to highly specialized trauma and critical care.

More information about STARS is available at www.stars.ca.

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