Pipa News |
Alberta’s EMS system is under tremendous pressure, and has been for some time. Similar problems are being felt across the country.
And although various attempted reforms are being implemented – such as the $64 million allocated to EMS in this year’s provincial budget – the reduction is now having a real impact.
Alberta awaits the report of an EMS advisory committee that was originally announced in January, intended to address growing demand for the service. The report was due in late July but is now expected to be delivered this fall.
The group’s initial recommendations, which included easing ambulance staffing requirements and reducing patient unloading delays in emergency departments, were approved in May.
Alberta Health Minister Jason Kopping agreed to the Alberta EMS Advisory Committee’s request to extend its mandate through the end of August, Alberta Health spokeswoman Lisa Blahe said.
,[The minister agreed] So they can continue to work with EMS partners to finalize a number of new recommendations and follow up on the implementation of the initial 10 recommendations announced in May,” Blahe said in an email.
While that report is pending, we want to hear about your experiences.
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Mike Parker, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, said he learned the review had been postponed a few weeks ago.
“It’s going to take a long time to understand the reality of what we’ve built here, how bad this system has really become for the people who expect to provide that kind of service,” Parker said.
“It’s going to take time, but it will also take courage and leadership to change the system to take care of our people so they can take care of all the burden.”
look | Mike Parker speaks about an ambulance crisis in Alberta, a paramedic shortage, and what he thinks can be done:
What is the plan?
Parker said he thought the report needed to include a safe staffing model, so no one worked 16 or 17 hours a day shift.
“It needs to include how to get them fired because it’s not safe for anyone to leave them in the front row before the end of their innings,” he said.
“We need a recruiting strategy that brings in our new people, and ways to keep the ones we have now. And these are all pieces that need to come out of this report.”
The review is pending as Calgary’s ambulance performance and response times continue to decline. According to data obtained by the opposition NDP through a Freedom of Information request, the city had an average of 420 red alerts per month starting in 2022.
In a statement sent to CBC News last week, AHS spokesman James Wood said a number of factors led to an increase in emergency calls, and an increase in all types of calls.
He said that EMS 911 call volume in 2022 so far is about 30 per cent higher as compared to 2018-19.
“This year the EMS budget has been increased by $64 million, or 12 percent, and we are using the increased budget to add employees as quickly as possible,” Wood said.
“There are more than 250 paramedics working today compared to two years ago, and AHS continues to add staff and increase capacity. But like other provinces, we are challenged by an increase in 911 calls and the pandemic’s impact on the workforce. holistic health system.”
The NDP has called for commitments to timely shift paramedics, plans to award full-time permanent contracts to paramedics and an immediate expansion of harm reduction services.