Last Resort: Council Votes in Favour Of Refusing To Transfer EMS 9-1-1 Calls To Alberta Health Services

In an act of ‘defiance,’ the RMWB will no longer be transferring EMS 9-1-1 calls to Alberta Health Services’ provincial dispatch centres.

Wood Buffalo council met on Tuesday where they approved a motion from Mayor Don Scott to have the local emergency communications centre once again handle all medical emergencies.

According to regional emergency services, they’ve had to intervene in roughly 20 per cent of calls since AHS took over in mid-January.

Scott says they were simply left with no other options.

“We are a creature of the province and the province can basically dissolve us at any point and if they dissolve us, so be it… they’re putting people’s health at risk.”

This decision comes after multiple experiences were publically shared to highlight the issues under AHS’s system.

Earlier this month, an individual crashed their snowmobile near Anzac.

Instead of dispatching the personnel from the fire department, AHS sent an ambulance from Fort McMurray which was over 30 minutes away. They reportedly called for a second ambulance after arriving due to the injuries sustained by the person.

In response, AHS’s Chief Paramedic Darren Sandbeck noted the fire department wasn’t called as it wasn’t part of its mandate.

Councillor Phil Meagher, who downplayed his disappointment over the province’s system, noted the whole situation is just ‘silly.’

“I can’t see what they’re thinking with down there, obviously they’re not using any parts of their brains because it just makes common sense.”

Legal services are still looking into whether they could face any legal repercussions. Their agreement, which is with Telus and not AHS, was recently terminated, but it did include cooperating with the province on a transition.

However, RMWB’s Chief Administrative Officer Jamie Doyle expressed his support for the motion despite potential issues.

“We do have an obligation to transfer the call, however, at one point does that obligation outweigh the health and safety of our residents.”

Meanwhile, Mix News has reached out to Alberta’s Health Ministry but has been told they’re currently looking into the matter.

In a statement, AHS says they’re aware of the decision.

“We have not received any information directly from RMWB. AHS will do all it can to ensure patients are not put at risk.”

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