By Jaxon McGinn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Sunny South News
An action plan is being proposed by the Alberta Government as they state it will attempt to lessen emergency response times.
The government statement reads:
“In response to growing demand for EMS services across Alberta, the government is launching a provincial emergency medical services advisory committee to provide immediate and long-term recommendations that will inform a new provincial EMS service plan.”
AHS will roll out its 10-point plan to quickly add capacity to EMS.
Alberta Health Services’ 10-point plan:
Five actions are already underway:
•Hiring more paramedics.
•Launching pilot projects to manage non-emergency inter-facility transfers.
•Initiating an ‘hours of work’ project to help ease staff fatigue.
•Transferring low-priority calls to other agencies in consultation with EMS physicians.
•Stopping the automatic dispatch of ambulances to motor vehicle collisions that don’t have injuries.
Five additional actions are to come:
•Creating a new integrated operations centre in Calgary, bringing paramedic leads and hospital staff together to improve integration, movement of resources, and flow of patients.
•Evaluation by an emergency communications officer to determine if an ambulance from out of the area, though it may be closest to a 911 call, is most appropriate to respond.
•Implementing a pilot project in Red Deer that will manage most patient transfers between facilities with dedicated transfer units, freeing up ambulances to handle emergency calls.
•Allowing ambulances to be pre-empted from assignments, instead of being automatically dispatched when a 911 call is received, ensures more ambulances are available for critical patients.
•Developing a strategic provincial service plan for EMS delivery in the province.
In April 2020, the province consolidated EMS dispatch services, hoping to make 911 dispatch services more fiscally efficient while improving patient care.
The consolidation of the services left many Albertans concerned with its impact on response times.
Health Minister Jason Copping says he has heard the calls on the government to lessen the response times.
“Alberta’s government has been supportive of EMS throughout the pandemic. As we approach the peak of Omicron cases, we know the EMS system sees significant strain, which impacts service. We recognize this is a challenge and are taking immediate steps to improve emergency care access while we explore longer-term solutions.”
Additionally, the province will request proposals to conduct a third-party review of Alberta’s province-wide EMS dispatch system in February.
For further information about the Alberta government emergency response time, you can visit their website at alberta.ca.