Cabbies, WRHA to meet
REPRESENTATIVES from Winnipeg's taxi industry will meet for a third time Tuesday with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority on a new policy that gives cabbies more responsibility to see that discharged hospital patients arrive home safely.
The meeting will include representatives from Unicity, Duffy's and Spring taxis services and officials with the Manitoba Taxicab Board.
Board secretary Jon Wilson said the goal is to have a policy in place by the end of February.
"Everything is moving along quite nicely," Wilson said Thursday.
The meetings between the health authority and the cab industry are the result of two deaths less than two days apart in December involving elderly patients sent home alone by taxi after being discharged from the Grace Hospital.
The discharge guideline stipulates that in all cases, patients who require assistance with transportation or to get into their homes and remain there safely must have a named and available support person contacted, confirmed and documented by hospital staff before being discharged.
Health Minister Erin Selby said the WRHA is investigating whether the two men were "medically ready" to be released at a time when the city was under a deep-freeze.
Selby said she wants to see cab drivers given more responsibility to ensure discharged patients arrive home safely, such as waiting outside a residence to make sure a discharged patient makes it inside their home.
Pallister awaits attack
BRING it on, says Opposition Leader Brian Pallister regarding an NDP plan to launch a new series of TV attack ads against him.
"The NDP running attack ads doesn't bother me," he told reporters Thursday. "It's not a reflection on me -- it's a reflection on their desperation. I'm not afraid of it."
The TV ads will debut Feb. 8 at the NDP's annual general meeting in Winnipeg and are intended to poke a hole in Pallister's balloon as Premier Greg Selinger's popularity sags in public opinion polls. The ads will run during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Pallister said he has no worries about how the ads might portray him.
"I've got a record. They can consult the record and they can have at 'er," he said. "The reality is they're running from their own record and everybody knows it."
NDP house leader Andrew Swan said the ads will convey the truth about Pallister, who he described as "clapping his hands" when he was in the former Tory government of former premier Gary Filmon as it cut essential services such as education funding during the 1990s.
Date set for Hydro hearing
MANITOBA Hydro's dam-building plan goes under the microscope starting March 3.
The long-awaited Needs For and Alternatives To (NFAT) hearing begins at the Public Utilities Board and is scheduled to end May 3.
The Crown power utility says it needs to build the Keeyask and Conawapa generating stations in the next decade to meet the province's energy needs and demands south of the border and to the east and west.
Hydro's plan calls for the start of construction of the 695-megawatt Keeyask generating station in June 2014, with the first turbine to start spinning by 2019. That's to be followed by construction of the 1,485-megawatt Conawapa generating station, with a 2026 in-service date.
The forecast price tag for Keeyask is $6.2 billion and Conawapa is estimated to cost $10.2 billion. There will be an additional cost of running a transmission line to Minnesota.
The NFAT hearing will examine whether the plan is too pricey for the province, especially in light of how the North American energy market has shifted with the advent of cheap shale gas extraction by fracking.
THE province is reminding Manitobans that, starting today, lifesaving defibrillators are required by law in designated public places.
Manitoba was the first province in Canada to develop legislation requiring public places to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) available on site. Defibrillators deliver an electric shock to restart a stopped heart and are programmed to detect if a person is having an irregular heart rhythm that indicates potential cardiac arrest.
Under the Defibrillator Public Access Act, designated facilities include high-traffic public places.
AEDs offer step-by-step instructions so training is not required. If the AED does not detect a shockable heart rhythm, the machine does not deliver a shock.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba, defibrillation used with CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can improve cardiac arrest survival rates by 75 per cent or more over CPR alone.
A full list of designated public places required to have a defibrillator on site is available at www.gov.mb.ca/health/aed/.