AHS Defends Own EMS Dispatch System, Claims All Municipal Concerns Lack Evidence

Alberta Health Services is continuing to defend its dispatch system following Wood Buffalo council’s decision to stop sending calls to their provincial centres.

They met yesterday where they approved having the local emergency communications centre once again handle all medical emergencies after reports of local dispatchers needing to intervene in around 20 per cent of calls since AHS took over in mid-January.

In a statement, AHS’s Chief Paramedic Darren Sandbeck says there’s no evidence their system has put any patient’s life at risk.

“No information has been brought forward to show that dispatch consolidation has resulted in any adverse events, response delays, or negative outcomes.”

Over the past several days, Fire Chief Jody Butz has shared multiple stories of individuals experiencing delays in service.

This includes an individual who 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 a previous response, Sandbeck noted the fire department wasn’t called as it wasn’t part of their mandate.

“EMS always responds immediately to any urgent or life-threatening 911 call,” he added. “We dispatch ambulances in the same way municipalities did before: 911 calls are handled in exactly the same way today as they were prior to the transition of dispatch to AHS.”

As of Wednesday, AHS dispatchers were still answering regional 9-1-1 calls. Butz says they’ll officially stop transferring the calls starting at noon on Thursday.

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

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