New ambulances, more paramedics announced for Edmonton and Calgary amid EMS pressure
The Alberta Health Service added five new ambulances and 20 more paramedics in Calgary and Edmonton respectively.
AHS said in a statement Tuesday that the additions are intended to help relieve pressure on emergency medical services and improve access to emergency care for patients amid the growing volume of emergency calls.
In May, the Alberta Medical Association said significant pressures were being felt in emergency departments across the province.
Dr. Paul Parks, president of the Alberta Medical Associations Emergency Medicine Section, said any help is good, but the province needs to take a deep look at the challenges emergency personnel face.
« It’s demoralizing and frustrating that the system has come to the point where it’s hopeless and broken. We definitely need more help and if 10 ambulances will be about to cut it I doubt it, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction, » Parks told CBC,
Mike Parker, president of the Alberta Health Sciences Association, shared very similar sentiments and called the announcement « a drop in the ocean. »
« The current government says they have hired enough paramedics to outfit these new ambulances, but they’ve already said that and the reality on the streets is that they haven’t, » Parker said in a statement. communicated.
AHS said emergency calls to CBC have increased since the pandemic, which Parks said has strained emergency rooms and emergency departments.
“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid issues and emergency calls related to people returning to normal activities are all contributing to the increase in calls. Staff illness and ongoing fatigue are also contributing to the challenges of the EMS system, » AHS spokesperson. James Wood said in a statement.
In addition to additional staff and ambulances, AHS also approved $12.2 million to implement a fatigue management project for EMS workers.
The announcement is the latest in the province’s initiative to improve EMS under the AHS 10-Point Plan presented by the UCP earlier this year.
In the spring of 2022, AHS EMS hired 40 new paramedics. Parker says he hasn’t seen any changes yet and hopes continued efforts will eventually ease some of the burden.
« They’re trying to come up with band-aid solutions. Until the government says publicly that we need to commit to making this a top priority, those big fixes unfortunately aren’t going to happen, » Parker said.