The City of Red Deer was among four municipalities that filed an official complaint with the Alberta Ombudsman regarding the consolidation of ambulance dispatch. (File photo by Advocate staff)

The City of Red Deer was among four municipalities that filed an official complaint with the Alberta Ombudsman regarding the consolidation of ambulance dispatch. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Alberta Ombudsman responds to Red Deer ambulance dispatch complaint

The province has responded to a complaint from the City of Red Deer and several other municipalities regarding Alberta Health Services’ consolidation of ambulance emergency dispatch services.

Alberta Ombudsman Marianne Ryan took the unusual step to publicly comment on the complaint late Friday. Ryan said decisions made by AHS do not fall under her jurisdiction.

“My office thoroughly analyzed the complaint and confirmed that the decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch services was indeed made by AHS. While many government-related bodies fall under my jurisdiction, AHS is not one of them,” said Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman.

“In fact, the Ombudsman Act specifically states that my powers of investigation do not apply to health authorities. My ability to investigate AHS decisions would require a change in legislation. While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction.”

As an independent Officer of the Legislature, the Alberta Ombudsman responds to complaints of unfair treatment by provincial government authorities, municipalities, the Patient Concerns Resolution Process of Alberta Health Services, health professions and other designated professional organizations.

Under the Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman has the authority to initiate an investigation on her own motion in the case of systemic issues, or issues that may advance to a full investigation from the Ombudsman’s own initiative.

Investigations by the Ombudsman are conducted in confidence, and it is the Ombudsman’s general practice not to comment publicly on complaints, especially ones that are not being investigated according to a news release from the province.

“Given the substance of the complaint has been widely reported in the media and that it relates to an issue affecting a great many Albertans, I advised the mayors that I would be making a public statement,” Ryan said.

The City of Red Deer, along with the municipalities of Calgary, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo filed the complaint on Oct. 13.

Those municipalities have been advocating against the decision by Alberta Health Services and the Alberta government to consolidate regional ambulance dispatch services for nearly a year.

More recently, Alberta Municipalities gave overwhelming support for an independent review of Alberta’s ambulance services.

The supportive vote means that the AUMA will be advocating to the Government of Alberta and the Minister of Health for an independent third-party review of the Alberta Health Services (AHS) emergency ambulance dispatch.



Send your news tips

Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter