(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

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

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
COVID-19 case confirmed at two more Red Deer schools and RDC

Two members of the Red Deer College community and two additional Red… Continue reading

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s Municipal Affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Province and rural municipalities agree on a plan to support Alberta’s energy industry

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Premier Jason Kenney participated in a livestream on Oct. 17, 2020. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
UCP members pass resolution at AGM calling for privately funded health care option

EDMONTON — Members of Alberta’s governing United Conservative Party have narrowly endorsed… Continue reading

“We weren’t sure what to expect with just doing the 50/50. We have been positively surprised with sales so far,” says Craig Fleming, co-chair of the Red Deer Kinsmen Club’s raffle. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Non-profits put their money on 50/50 draws

COVID impacts fundraising events

Student taking a math test. (Pixabay photo)
David Marsden: Students need more testing, not less

Testing has been central to Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s… Continue reading

Executive Director of Agape Kate Halas (left) receives $1000 from Sgt. Eric Christensen (right) on behalf of Agape. Photo/ Shaela Dansereau.
Former Wetaskiwin Peace Officer wins provincial award; gives back to Wetaskiwin community

Eric Christensen has won the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers Award of Excellence.

Email editor@federalwaymirror.com
It’s a mistake to meddle with dispatching ambulances

As per usual UCP tactics, on Friday afternoon, our “esteemed” minister of… Continue reading

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Canadian couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann (33) stops a shot from Vancouver Whitecaps’s Lucas Cavallini during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Koreniuk’s goal helps Galaxy beat Whitecaps, snap skid

Vancouver has lost five of its last seven games

In this file photo, Mike Weir, of Canada, hits out of the bunker on hole one during the 2017 Canadian Open at the Glen Abbey golf club, in Oakville, Ont., on Friday, July 28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Weir settles for second as Mickelson wins to go 2 for 2 on senior tour

PGA Tour Champions’ stop at The Country Club of Virginia

Most Read