“If the System Isn’t Broken, Don’t Try to Fix It” Alberta Mayors Expressing More Concerns Over EMS Dispatch Plan

The RMWB, Calgary, Red Deer, and Lethbridge are once again calling out Alberta Health Services’ plans to remove the local EMS dispatch sites in the communities.

Mayor Don Scott, along with the mayors of the other three cities, released a joint letter on Friday outlining more concerns with the decision.

This includes multi-service responses as they note provincial dispatchers would need to make a second call to send out fire medics.

“Under the AHS centralized model, rather than a municipal dispatcher sending the closest emergency response unit, a municipal dispatcher would transfer the call to an AHS dispatcher who would send EMS, and then the AHS dispatcher would have to contact the municipal dispatcher again if Fire is needed,” the letter read.

In the RMWB, fire services arrive first on the scene around 60 per cent of the time. This is the fastest of the four impacted communities.

Another concern being raised revolves around dispatch times.

“AHS maintains there will be no additional time added to when an ambulance arrives on the scene (though we have not seen the data to prove this, and our data shows local dispatch is faster). Our local dispatch centres exceed AHS dispatch standards while AHS does not even meet their own standard.”

The province notes centralizing these sites would save around $6 million dollars annually, however, these communities are noting “if the emergency dispatch system isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.”

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