Four Alberta mayors, including Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer, met with Minister of Health Tyler Shandro Thursday to discuss Alberta Health Services’ new emergency dispatch system. (File photo by Advocate staff)

‘Ambulance dispatch should be kept local,’ says Red Deer mayor

Four Alberta mayors meet with Minister of Health on Thursday

Following a meeting with four Alberta mayors, Minister of Health Tyler Shandro has committed to reviewing material regarding Alberta Health Services’ new emergency dispatch system.

On Aug. 4, the city was notified AHS intends to remove integrated municipal ambulance dispatch services in Red Deer, Lethbridge, Calgary and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Dispatch services would instead be consolidated into three AHS communications centres in Peace River, Edmonton and Calgary.

Earlier this week, Red Deer city council urged the provincial government to keep the region’s existing emergency dispatch system.

The mayors of the four impacted communities met with Shandro on Thursday.

“As an outcome of the meeting, the minister committed to reviewing the material that we submitted, both in a verbal presentation as well as our written submissions,” said Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer.

“There was not a specific commitment in terms of our formal ask of the minister, which is to overturn AHS for the fifth time on this issue.”

While the minister of health didn’t commit to a specific timeline to finish reviewing the submitted material, he was briefed on the need for a timely decision, said Veer.

“We did indicate that we will continue to pursue the public safety interest on this matter, up to the January deadline that AHS has articulated to us,” she said.

“The communities who were present and the regions we represented (at the meeting Thursday) remain resolute in our position that ambulance dispatch should be kept local and that is in the interest of patient outcomes for all Albertans.”

The new consolidated dispatch is being done in an effort to save $5 million.

According to the City of Red Deer, its integrated fire and emergency ambulance service “is regarded nationally and internationally for its efficiency, and most importantly, patient-first approach.”

All firefighters and paramedics with Red Deer Emergency Services are trained to do both jobs, whereas AHS responders are only trained for ambulance service.

Fire vehicles may not be initially sent to accidents along with an ambulance, necessitating some second calls, with 911 callers having to repeat their locations and situations, says the city.

City figures show that Red Deer’s 911 emergency communications centre dispatches vehicles faster than the AHS emergency communications centre in Edmonton, says the city.

Last quarter, the AHS communications centre in Edmonton averaged a dispatch time of 92 seconds — despite AHS having a standard of 90 seconds, says the city.

Red Deer’s system averaged 71 seconds during the same period.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Guy Pelletier, vice-president of the Red Deer region for Melcor Developments. (Contributed photo).
Melcor has to redesign new neighbourhood after Molly Banister decision

City council disagreed with administration’s recommendation to scrap road plans

About $135,000 is available in grants for central Alberta organizations that are empowering women, girls and supporting gender-diverse people through their mission, activities or partnerships. Contributed photo
$135K in funding available in central Alberta for charities advancing gender equality

The Red Deer & District Community Foundation is providing $135,000 to local… Continue reading

Junction 42 Partnership Rest Area, located at highways 2 and 42 east of Penhold in Red Deer County, has welcomed its 100,000th visitor.
Photo from Red Deer County
Junction 42 highway rest area hits 100,000 visitors

Junction 42 Partnership Rest Area located on Highway 2 east of Penhold

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

Email letters to
The problem isn’t dispatching, it’s a shortage of ambulances

Having worked in EMS for more than 43 years, and having lobbied… Continue reading

file photo
Maskwacis RCMP investigate pedestrian fatality

Collision on Highway 2A causing fatality still under investigation.

March 14, 2019 - Head shot of Toronto Star columnist Heather Scoffield.    DAVE CHAN FOR THE TORONTO STAR
Opinion: Canada is missing a recovery plan

The glitches should have been a sign of what was to come.… Continue reading

A recent Lock it or Lose it campaign at Parkland Mall found only 35 per cent of drivers took action to make their vehicles less tempting to criminals. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Michael Dawe: Parkland Mall transformed region’s retail landscape

Fifty years ago, on Nov. 3, 1970, there was a major boost… Continue reading

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Fitting finale: Dodgers win title, Turner tests positive

Turner returns to the diamond about an hour after the game

Most Read