Former Reynolds councillor upset over ambulance shutdown

By Marianne Curtis

A former RM of Reynolds councillor is upset with the news that the RM of Reynolds has lost their only ambulance service.

Last month the Dawson Trail Dispatch reported that Northwest Health Association is no longer training new ambulance personnel nor will they hire anyone without paramedic training. As a result, the municipality was forced to shut down the RM of Reynolds Ambulance Service, which operates out of Hadashville will no longer be able to operate. `

At the time of the closure North East Health Association promised the RM of Reynolds service to residents in the municipality would not suffer as response time is well within the provincial standard of thirty minutes or less. The Province also committed to permanent Lifeflight helicopter service to quickly transport patients in serious health situations.

However a recent incident which occurred near Elma has former municipal councillor Andy Pelletier saying this promise is not being fulfilled.

“About two months ago my partner and I were working in our yard when we heard the sound of a siren screaming down the highway; my first thought is who in Ste Rita needs help,“ Pelletier explained. “Twenty minutes later the ambulance pulled into our yard and the attendants asked for directions to Spruce Siding.“

Pelletier pointed out that Spruce Siding was accessed from Highway 11 south of Elma and St. Rita is about thirty kilometres west of Elma on Highway 15.  “Their detour would have added an additional 30 minutes minimum to their response time to the call,“ says Pelletier.

Pelletier says he doesn’t fault the ambulance attendants, but he does blame the `pencil pushers“ for their decision that an ambulance station in Prawda was not needed.

“During my term on council we had numerous discussions with NEHA and the 911 people from Brandon and were repeatedly assured that between their “ geo-posting” and GPS tracking technology they would better serve the communities in the area along with the thousands who travel the Trans Canada highway daily,“ Pelletier continued. “The southeast region is poorly served in comparison to other parts of the province when it comes to ambulance service.“
He added that he felt the staff of the ambulance stations are doing a tremendous job with the resources at hand, but the system needs to shake its head and look at helping them out more.
“This is not pizza delivery, this is a matter of life and death,“ he concluded.
The Reynolds Ambulance Service was established shortly after the health authorities were formed. Prior to amalgamation, the area was served through the Ste. Anne Health District and service was provided through Ste. Anne Ambulance Service.

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