STARS Air Ambulance to take over Lifeflight services in Manitoba

By | September 10, 2020

WINNIPEG — STARS Air Ambulance will be taking over Manitoba’s Lifeflight services starting in December, according to Shared Health.

On Thursday afternoon, Shared Health announced the Lifeflight service will be handing over operational and staffing responsibilities to STARS no sooner than Dec. 10, 2020, and said affected staff and their unions have already been told of the decision.

“Details of a labour adjustment will be worked out with the respective unions in the weeks ahead, with opportunities to be provided to all affected staff,” a statement from Shared Health said.

Shared Health said in the interim period, Lifeflight staff and physicians will continue to provide the air ambulance service.

Shared Health said STARS has been partnering with Shared Health’s adult and child (neonatal/pediatric) transport teams and Lifeflight staff to provide the critical care medical air services over the past two years.

“Together, these teams have ensured ongoing and consistent availability of the Lifeflight service, even with the additional challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shared Health CEO Brock Wright, provincial lead of health services, said in a news release.

“In the early months of the pandemic, gaps in Lifeflight physician coverage were covered by STARS, demonstrating our ability to build upon our existing partnership to further stabilize staffing and ensure Manitobans have access to this service for years to come.”

Shared Health said a committee will be created of Shared Health and STARS clinical and administrative leads to oversee quality, patient safety, financials, and other service areas. The agreement has been put in place until March 2022.

Shared Health said access to the service will not be changed.

“Shared Health’s Medical Transportation Coordination Centre continuing to accept calls from Manitoba health care providers,” the statement reads. “Clinical staff will continue to be assigned according to individual patient need and STARS will utilize both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft for the transport of adult patients within Manitoba.”

Shared Health will continue to transport adult patients to facilities outside Manitoba, as well as the pediatric and neonatal transports.

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