Alberta Party Calls for an End to EMS Centralization

The Alberta Party calls for the immediate reversal of the failed policy to centralized EMS dispatch services. The tragic impacts highlighted by local officials cannot be ignored.

The UCP’s policy to consolidate EMS dispatch under AHS nearly resulted in a fatality this week. A man lay severely injured in the snow for an hour near Anzac as he waited for an ambulance. Instead of AHS notifying Anzac’s own fire department which could have responded within minutes, AHS dispatched an ambulance from Fort McMurray, 50 km away.

The Alberta Party is calling for the immediate reversal of the failed policy of centralized EMS dispatch services. Impacted communities deserve a return to pragmatic solutions where local officials can make decisions that are best for their municipality.

Acting Leader Jacquie Fenske, "Alberta rural communities are being disproportionally affected by these changes, and the impact is being felt by all Albertans who need these services. Delays in dispatching local emergency services can result in preventable injuries and complications."

Alberta municipalities have been fighting to retain control of their EMS dispatch for the last 8 years. The consolidation of EMS dispatch has many Alberta mayors and first responders speaking out about the negative consequences. The Calgary Herald reported "[Mayor] Nenshi had strongly opposed AHS’… takeover of dispatch services in Calgary, which was planned under the former Progressive Conservative government and remained under consideration by the NDP since the party took office in May 2015.

The NDP, never one to turn down or stop centralization, unsurprisingly have been extremely quiet on the EMS consolidation as they oversaw the consolidation of southern Alberta EMS services in late 2016.

Now, we have consolidation continuing under the UCP. It has indicated this is a cost savings measure. However, this move will not save the province any costs. And local dispatch costs less than the UCP’s scandal-ridden energy war room.

Albertans deserve a pragmatically delivered, thoughtfully considered health care system. Instead, it has a government unilaterally making ideological changes without regard for the lives that will be lost.

The Alberta Party