The Alberta Government is aiming to reduce ambulance wait times and streamline EMS response by implementing a series of changes recommended by the Alberta Emergency Medical Services Provincial Advisory Committee (AEPAC) and an independent dispatch review conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Among the changes, the province is adding more EMS crews to cover peak hours, fast-tracking ambulance transfers at emergency departments, and empowering paramedics to assess a patient’s condition on scene and decide whether they need to be taken to an ER by ambulance.
“This work supports four priority areas that we’ve been focused on at AHS: improving EMS response times; decreasing emergency department wait times; reducing wait times for surgeries; and improving patient flow throughout the healthcare system,” says Dr. John Cowell, administrator with AHS.
However, the province won’t be making changes to how ambulances are dispatched.
An independent review of AHS’s EMS call centre concluded that Alberta’s central dispatch model follows world-leading practices and design.
Mayor Sandy Bowman is disappointed, stating that a comprehensive review of all available evidence would clearly demonstrate that it is in our region’s best interest to have EMS dispatch delivered locally.
“At the end of the day, this is about what is best for the people that live here and call this place home, not about which level of government has control over the service.”
Mayor Bowman says he has been in touch with Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping and will speak with him more in-depth regarding the report and review.