EMS Issues Must be a Priority to Solve

Barry Morishita

January 27, 2022

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The Alberta government has, through inaction, created a crisis in emergency medical service. Code Reds – where there are no ambulances or paramedics available to respond to an emergency – continue to rise across the province, to the point where recently a young boy with a seriously fractured leg was taken to hospital by a fire truck because there was not an ambulance available! Albertans deserve better.

Addressing and resolving EMS issues has been ignored by the provincial government for years, and I saw those negative effects first-hand as a Mayor in Alberta. And yes, COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem, but it could have been addressed before the pandemic. Municipalities, paramedics, and other health care workers have been ringing the warning bells for years.

The recently announced government advisory committee is too little, too late. 

The government had the ability to address these issues long before they hit this crisis level, they chose not to. 

In 2018 the Alberta Party adopted a policy resolution that “An Alberta Party Government would empower Alberta Health Services and emergency departments to ensure that ambulance paramedics would not be required to wait with patients for longer than 30 minutes.”

There needs to be serious thought and significant responses to meet these challenges. 

Yes, training and hiring more paramedics is needed. Appropriate support for all first responders for their mental and physical well-being are also required.  There must be significant structural and procedural changes to the way ambulances and the paramedic service operates. It begins with the dispatch service. We must also review how we transfer  non-emergency patients between health facilities and change the transfer of responsibility for patients from ambulance to the health care facility in the shortest time possible – allowing paramedics to get back into service quickly to support healthy, safe communities. 

The Alberta Party is committed to learning from, and working with, all those involved in providing EMS in the province. We will work with health care providers, paramedics, EMS staff, their associations, college, and union representatives, Albertans and others that are interested, to develop and implement a thoughtful plan that will  remedy this dire situation and create a better system to protect Albertans.

I welcome your ideas – our party wants to create policy and actions that work FOR Albertans.

Connect with me here to continue the conversation. 

- Barry Morishita, Alberta Party Leader 

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