NDP Urge Pallister to Side with Lifeflight Doctors

December 11, 2018

NDP Leader Wab Kinew responded to a letter from Lifeflight doctors to the Minister of Health urging the government to abandon their plan to privatize the air ambulance service.

The physicians sent an email to the Minister in late November asking the government to restore funding for the public service and abandon their plans to privatize, or they will refuse to provide medical service on private planes. The doctors urged the government to hire more pilots and fund annually required training in order to keep the public system working.

“Doctors have been clear with the government—privatizing Lifeflight will put patients at risk,” said Kinew. “I’m told the further you get from the bedside the worse the decision making gets. It seems to me the government should be listening to the doctors who work at the bedside instead of their own consultants and political operatives. The privatization of air ambulances is a bad idea that should be stopped.”

The group of physicians publicly expressed their collective opposition to the Premier’s plan to privatize Lifeflight. They expressed concerns that private companies, motivated by profit, would put patients and health care staff at risk. In a meeting with the Health Minister they offered to continue servicing the planes if the government secured funding for pilot recruitment and training. The Minister refused to do so.

“It’s clear the Pallister government is not focused on improving health care otherwise they would listen to these doctors who are telling them not to privatize air ambulances,” said Kinew. “His plan will hurt northern and rural Manitobans, and potentially anyone who had a life threatening emergency 200 km. outside of Winnipeg. It’s time for him to abandon this plan and listen to health care experts.”