The Manitoba government advises that the provincial LifeFlight program will continue without its two Citation jets.
Due to a changing complement of highly specialized employees, who are essential to the safe operation of the Citation aircraft, the province is replacing the use of its Citation jets with private carriers as early as later this month to ensure continuity of these important health transportation services for Manitobans.
Recruiting staff for highly specialized positions is very difficult due to the specific qualifications and training required, as well as significant competition from private sector employers.
The Citation jets were utilized approximately 50 per cent of the time last year, with private carriers used for the balance of flights. Most other jurisdictions in Canada utilize privately owned and operated air ambulance service. Only one province uses a fully government owned and operated service.
The Manitoba government is committed to ensuring air ambulance services can continue to be relied upon to provide safe, consistent and high-quality care.
LifeFlight provides rapid inter-facility air ambulance transport for critically ill or injured Manitobans from areas outside a 200-kilometre radius of Winnipeg. It is staffed by highly skilled flight nurses with advanced critical-care training and experience, and may be supplemented by critical care or emergency physicians, obstetricians, neonatology physicians and respiratory therapists depending on a patient’s needs.