UCP and NDP share differing plans addressing EMS wait times

The UCP and NDP are prioritizing EMS wait times as a key issue for the upcoming election.

“Albertans need to trust that when they call 911 in an emergency, dispatch will answer and an ambulance will be there within minutes,” said David Shepherd, Alberta NDP candidate for Edmonton-City Centre and Health Critic.

“And they need to trust that when they get to the hospital, they’ll be seen fast. Under the UCP, Albertans don’t have that trust.”

The NDP has proposed a plan to tackle ambulance wait times by introducing 16 new Community Paramedic Units across the province, with eight of them designated for rural areas.

The UCP maintains that they have already made significant improvements to EMS services and will continue to follow the recommendations provided by EMS workers on the front lines.

“Recently, we added $136 million in new EMS funding to hire more staff and put more ambulances on the road. We also implemented new EMS patient transfer guidelines at hospitals to allow paramedics and ambulances to get back on the road faster,” says Highwood UCP candidate, RJ Sigurdson.

“In 2019 the UCP government inherited a broken, bloated, and bureaucratic health system that was failing Albertans. In response to this crisis, we streamlined resources to the front lines.”

During a recent meeting with mayors from Lethbridge, Red Deer, and Calgary, Mayor Sandy Bowman voiced his opinion that returning EMS dispatch to the local level would be the best way to serve our region.

“Our focus has always been – and continues to be – on what is best for the health and safety of the people that live here,” says Mayor Sandy Bowman.

“We are hopeful that in working alongside the Province towards further improvements, that there is opportunity for our Municipality to play a stronger leadership role in EMS dispatch.”

The Province of Alberta shifted EMS dispatch from the RMWB to a province-wide call centre in early 2021.

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