February is I Love to Read Month, and I want to thank Madame Oster’s Grade 4 class and Madame Carrigan’s Grade 3-4 class at École Riverside School in Thompson for inviting me to discuss the provincial political system, answer their questions and read them a book. I’m also grateful for their help encouraging everyone to read books each day in February and throughout the year.
Also this month, our Manitoba government has announced a purchase of 65 new ambulances to modernize our fleet. Paramedics care for hundreds of patients every day in our province, responding to 911 calls and transporting patients to and between health-care facilities. From extensive consultations with front-line health-care providers, this purchase builds on our continuing work to implement recommendations of the 2013 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) System Review, including an investment of $5 million annually for 60 full-time paramedic positions in rural Manitoba.
We are putting these changes in place gradually, and developing a consistent and integrated EMS system and patient transport model. These improvements will build capacity, equip staff and bring in more skilled professionals for Manitoba’s health-care system. The new ambulances are expected to be delivered to all five health regions across the province later this year.
Our government is ensuring ambulances are staffed around the clock seven days a week, and that our highly trained EMS professionals continue to use the most modern and proper equipment to support the excellent work they do to care for Manitobans.