EDITORIAL: Alberta’s EMS in crisis situation

Stettler town and county partnering with Medical First Response

Earlier this year the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) released disturbing statistics about the state of the province’s Emergency Medical System (EMS).

They say it’s in a crisis.

Mike Parker, president of HSAA, which represents more than 25,000 health-care professionals in the province, including 3,400 paramedics, said that paramedics have been warning that front-line resources can’t keep up with the increased demand.

Alberta’s population grew by 505,293 between 2012-13 and 2016-17 to 4,475,455. During this time, the number of EMS calls in Alberta increased by a whopping 19.4 per cent, an additional 63,460 calls.

But, according to HSAA, the province only added 9.4 ambulances in that time frame, which translates into a 2.9 per cent increase. AHS says that on average there were 328.6 ambulances available each day in 2016-17.

And during this time, there has only been a 3.4 per cent increase in the number of paramedics. There was a decrease of 16 full-time paramedics from 2015-16 to 2016-17.

The budget for front-line EMS services spending previously had only increased by 10.5 per cent, from $316.7 million to $349.9 million. The inflation rate during that time was 7.7 per cent.

“Every day, Alberta’s paramedics are working in a system at breaking point, a situation made worse by the continuing opioid crisis which is threatening and claiming far too many lives,” said Parker. “Far too often across the province there are no ambulances to respond when emergency calls come in. Who’s there to respond to the 63,000 extra calls? Where are the ambulances to serve the extra half a million people? Imagine what would happen if there was a large-scale emergency.”

In the province’s 2018 budget, the NDP government increased ambulance service funding by more than $20 million. This money will go towards front-line resources such as ambulance stations, ambulances and paramedics.

In the meantime, the rural areas are still being ignored and communities like Stettler face situations where there’s no ambulance in town because they may be delayed in Red Deer, which means patients are being forced to wait for help.

Thankfully, Stettler County and the Town of Stettler have partnered with Alberta Medical First Response (MFR) Program to train local firefighters to be medical first responders. Perhaps those needing an ambulance in a life or death situation can now be assured the province’s emergency response situation will improve rather than deteriorate.

Just Posted

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange drops by Stettler Elementary

Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner also attended the meeting

Better ways to use antibiotics on the farm

Canadian Beef Industry Conference session discusses dependence on antibiotics

Stettler Community Christmas Hamper Society seeking donations and volunteer support

Program helps to make the season brighter for local families

Male pedestrian dead after collision with train in Blackfalds

Man from Red Deer pronounced dead at the scene

Halloween Howl: a not-to-be-missed event organized by local group

Halloween fun in support of Stettler and District Crisis Aid

VIDEO: Alberta teen found guilty of shooting German tourist, leaving him paralyzed

The boy, who cannot be publicly identified, was from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Rebels drop third straight against Oil Kings

Rebels have given up 19 goals, scord 2 in three games

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read