Union highlighting ambulance shortages in province


Staff member
By Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ambulance services in the province have seen a 50-per-cent increase in calls for emergency services in the last 12 months, without an increase in staff or services, which is leaving rural areas of the province without health coverage, said one union expert.
Mike Parker, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, said the province used to get 1,000 calls for service per day and now they are getting around 1,500 calls for service per day.
As a result, communities will go into code red, meaning there are no ambulances left because they are so busy. Often big cities will use their ambulance services first and then the closest ambulance will be left to respond, which could be a vehicle from another municipality,
“From there you draw in the St. Alberts or you draw in the Cochranes into Calgary,” Parker said.
“You start drawing in the bedroom communities that are outside the metros.”
As the calls keep coming in, ambulances are drawn in from Morivnille or Westlock to service the big cities, leaving small towns with an ambulance far away.
“In the town of Coledale, which is outside of Lethbridge, an ambulance that was doing a call on the weekend, its home base was Clairsholm, which is 100 kilometres away,” Parker said.
Parker said Hardisty has been without an ambulance for 24 days because they don’t have the staff to keep a truck going.
The information Parker has is crowd-sourced from the members who staff the ambulances who are getting frustrated with the lack of coverage in the province. Parker vets the information internally before sending out information on social media to alert...continued

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