(Advocate file photo.)

(Advocate file photo.)

Central Alberta municipalities to join forces, demanding more health care resources

Shortage of ambulance, hospital services effects the entire region, says Red Deer councillor

Focusing attention on central Alberta’s health-care woes will require joint meetings between municipalities in 2019.

Since Red Deer hospital shortages and ambulance inadequacies are regional-wide issues, it will take inter-municipal collaboration to bring the full scope of the problem to the province’s attention, says Red Deer Coun. Dianne Wyntjes.

Wyntjes was recently contacted by Lacombe Coun. Chris Ross about his concern that Lacombe ambulances were spending 60 per cent of their time responding to Red Deer emergencies, or transferring heart-attack patients from Red Deer hospital to catheterization laboratories in Edmonton and Calgary.

Between August 2017 and August 2018, Lacombe ambulances responded to 880 calls in Red Deer, said Ross.

He feels Lacombe residents are being short changed: They should expect to wait 10 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, but are instead waiting an average of 18 minutes. This is because often, ambulances from Ponoka, Stettler or Rimbey are regularly needed to respond to Lacombe city calls because local ambulances are busy responding in Red Deer.

Ross brought the “dysfunctional” situation to the attention of Lacombe city council last fall. But council wasn’t sure how to respond, since the problem centres around Red Deer, which is out of its jurisdiction.

Ross later emailed Wyntjes, hoping she would bring the problem before Red Deer city council.

Wyntjes believes a more effective solution is sitting down with other affected municipalities to discuss local hospital shortages and inadequate ambulance service.

An inter-municipal collaborative framework process was recently introduced into the Municipal Government Act as a way to resolve problems that involve more than one jurisdiction.

Health-care inadequacies “are a huge issue for central Alberta,” she said, so information sharing will be needed to compile evidence to send to Alberta Health.

To get the full scope of regional ambulance shortages, for example, data will also be needed from Innisfail, Sylvan Lake, Stettler and Ponoka ambulance providers, as well as Lacombe.

“We need to look at all of their urgent care needs together,” said Wyntjes — including the lack of hospital services and beds, the absence of a local drug treatment centre and the need for more mental health resources.

There are some signs of positive change. Red Deer hospital has been put back on the provincial government’s capital priority list. Wyntjes is pleased to see it get back on, after being pushed off the list in recent years.

But she noted there’s still no dollar amount tied to this project. Wyntjes hopes more will be known at budget time in the spring.

Sylvan Lake ambulance service was given some extra funding for EMS staff and coverage earlier this month. While this may indirectly help ease some of the crunch in Red Deer and Lacombe, Wyntjes said the two cities could also have used more ambulance funding.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

red deer city

Just Posted

A gofundme account has been set up for Lilac the husky, of Blackfalds. (Photo from gofundme)
Dog ends up in coma after a walk in Blackfalds

Dog finds a baggie that likely contained drugs

Red Deer man reported missing

Red Deer RCMP seek public’s assistance

An attendee of the Maskwacis memorial held on May 31, 2021, for the 215 school children found in Kamloops, B.C. the week before, holds a teddy bear. <ins>The grandstand was filled with 215 bears to represent the lost children. They were offered to residential school survivors at the end of the memorial. </ins>(Photo illustration by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven before a confidence vote in the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday June 21, 2021. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven faces a no-confidence vote in the Riksdag parliament, after the Left Party said this week that it had lost confidence in Lofven and his center-left minority government. (Anders Wiklund / TT via AP)
Swedish PM loses confidence vote, sparking uncertainty

Prime minister has one week to call new election or ask parliament speaker to find a new government

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Inuk elder Reepa Evic-Carleton light a qulliq, a traditional oil lamp, at a public ceremony to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on the bank of the Ottawa River behind the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. on Thursday, June 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai
Singh blasts Liberal ‘hypocrisy’ on National Indigenous Peoples Day

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he believes the Liberal government… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border measures start easing in July for fully vaccinated Canadians

OTTAWA — Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada will… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Canada to unveil travel rules for fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents

OTTAWA — Canada is set to detail what quarantine rules citizens and… Continue reading

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky poses for a photo in Toronto on Monday, October 17, 2016. Two of Canada’s most prominent athletes are part of the ownership group of a new Las Vegas National Lacrosse League franchise. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu
Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash join forces with Las Vegas lacrosse team

League’s 15th team will start play in the fall of 2022

Orlando City and Montreal Impact players take a knee before their MLS match, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
CF Montreal finds two new home venues as Gold Cup comes to Fort Lauderdale

Exploria Stadium has been Toronto FC’s home field this year

Police and firefighters respond after a truck drove into a crowd of people injuring them during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., on Saturday, June 19, 2021. WPLG-TV reports that the driver of the truck was taken into custody. (Chris Day/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Officials say deadly Pride parade crash was not intentional

Driver and the victims were a part of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus family

FILE - In this April 18, 2017, file photo, a conference worker passes a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, Calif. Facebook is launching podcasts and live audio streams in the U.S. Monday, June 21, 2021, to keep users engaged on its platform and to compete with emerging rivals.(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)
Facebook launches podcasts, live audio service

Handful of podcasts will first be available to people in the U.S.

Intricate cloth masks with Indigenous design made by Teresa Snow. Facebook/ Masks4Maskwacis
‘Masks 4 Maskwacis’ wins Northern Lights Volunteer Award

The group received recognition for their efforts to support their community during COVID-19.

Most Read