The Manitoba government has released a report into the how Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) can provide better emergency service in the province.
The report and recommendations are the work of the province’s clinical oversight committee on STARS led by University of Manitoba dean of medicine Dr. Brian Postl.
The full report is embedded below and also available here.
"Our first priority is to deliver safe, high-quality care to Manitoba families," Health Minister Erin Selby said today in a statement. "We are confident these recommendations and the hard work of all involved will ensure a strong future for STARS and the valuable service it provides, particularly for those in rural Manitoba."
STARS was temporarily suspended from flying medical flights last Dec. 2 following the death of a woman after an inter-hospital flight in late November. It was the third serious case in a year involving the Alberta-based helicopter air ambulance service. On March 7, STARS was allowed to fly again by the province, but only in response to emergency scene calls.
STARS was only allowed to resume hospital-to-hospital flights July 2 when the enormity of this summer’s flood threat was determined.
Postl said in the report that there have been "serious issues in communication" between STARS and health department officials since STARS started flights in Manitoba about three years ago.
"This has existed for many reasons, but I note there is opportunity for improvement in the formal structure for communication. I would recommend an Operations Liaison Committee be established and that they meet monthly or more frequently at the call of the Chair," Postl said. "Agendas should be focused on information sharing and problem solving."
The panel's recommendations also include:
- STARS to pursue Canadian Medical Association accreditation;
- the establishment of a provincial paediatric transport team;
- the further integration into the provincial emergency medical services system through the Medical Transportation Coordination Centre.
Manitoba Health will also complete the transfer of the STARS service purchase agreement to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, effective Aug. 1. This process has been underway for several months and is intended to give STRAS medical crews experience in Winnipeg's emergency medical system.
STARS has been dispatched to 721 missions resulting in the transportation of 486 patients since 2011.