The City of Red Deer received overwhelming support from other Alberta municipalities in its call for an independent review of Alberta’s ambulance services.
Mayor Ken Johnston said he was very pleased to get the endorsement of 95 per cent of the municipalities who voted on this resolution Thursday at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association conference in Edmonton.
“We thank the AUMA membership for their support on this vital step towards realizing the impact of consolidation on response times,” added Johnston. “A third-party review is the next best step in validating and confirming that the AHS (Alberta Health Services) decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch was a mistake and is costing Albertans their lives.”
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.
The investigation is to determine whether emergency response times are keeping up with professional standards and to look into technical outages that have occurred since Jan. 12 when local ambulance dispatching was replaced by several provincial call centres.
“It is no secret that municipalities are frustrated regarding the lack of consultation and response on this matter,” said Johnston.
“Red Deer, Lethbridge, Calgary and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo have been at the forefront in attempting to convince the Government of Alberta to reverse the AHS decision to fully centralized ambulance emergency dispatch services… now with the support of AUMA, we hope that the Government of Alberta finally listens to our concerns for the safety and well being of all Albertans.”
Last January, emergency ambulance dispatch was fully consolidated into the AHS provincial dispatch system. This removed it from the four integrated satellite centers, which were used to assist in providing this vital health service.
Since the move to a total provincial dispatch system, Red Deer’s fire chief has spoken out about several cases of longer responses and technical errors that potentially put Albertans’ lives at risk.
The AUMA issued a statement on this matter in August 2020. Concerns were raised about the lack of information about the impact of consolidation on response times, as well as the lack of consultation.
The City of Red Deer believes the approved resolution speaks directly to the performance issues that AHS is experiencing with the centralized service model, and that an independent review of performance measures is required.
The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association represents Alberta’s cities, towns, villages, summer villages, and specialized municipalities, representing more than 85 per cent of Albertans.