lberta Health Services (AHS) has recently released information on how it's going to improve paramedic and ambulance services across the province.
In the past year, there was a 30 per cent increase in 911 calls, and despite these calls, ambulances took much longer to respond or didn’t show up at all, according to a release by AHS.
Almost half of the additional $64 million that will be spent in the upcoming fiscal year will be invested in getting air ambulances and new ambulance workers.
"This additional funding will allow us to add more ground ambulances and crews, which will help us better serve Alberta patients," said Darren Sandbeck, Alberta's chief paramedic in the release.
The new fleet of ambulances include five vehicles for both Edmonton and Calgary that will work 24/7, and more crew for Lethbridge and Red Deer that will work 12 hours.
As well, about $22 million is going to be used for ground ambulances and to support inter-facility transportation and integrated operation centres.
The inter-facility pilot project is one that will free up ambulances to handle non-emergency hospital transfers, beginning in Red Deer and expanding in Calgary and Edmonton.
$14 million will also go towards “hours of work initiative” in 14 rural communities, where paramedics shift their work hours to reduce fatigue from long shifts.
But new hires are not going to keep up with the number of paramedics who are leaving the profession due to burnout.
Mike Parker, president of the union representing paramedics, said at a press conference that since Alberta is competing for highly-trained medical professionals, there needs to be additional healthcare spending by the province in post-secondary institutions.
"Ambulances don't take people to the hospital. It's paramedics and it's communications officers who respond to those calls for 911.”
It took two years for the budget money to come after waning emergency services response times.
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