Red Deer’s emergency services manager Ken McMullen believes having some additional ambulances dedicated to inter-hospital transfers would free up more city paramedics to handle emergency situations.(Advocate file photo.)

More ambulances are needed in Red Deer to handle inter-hospital patient transfers, says mayor

‘Code reds’ — meaning all city ambulances are in use — happen monthly

Red Deer needs more ambulances, and the city is urging the province to establish a non-emergency service to help with inter-hospital patient transfers.

Emergency services director Ken McMullen said “code reds” are a monthly occurrence. This means all five city ambulances are out on calls and regional ambulance services have to be on standby to respond to any new emergencies that arise in Red Deer.

Mayor Tara Veer said she and other council members have spoken to the health minister and the associate minister of red tape reduction about the need for additional ambulances for Red Deer. These would deal only with patient transfers between hospitals, and not with emergency situations.

“We have recommended the establishment of a non-ambulance service to complete transfers,” said the mayor, who noted Leduc and Lethbridge have also identified problems with their ambulances getting tied up with non-emergency trips.

The City of Red Deer used to have nine ambulances when it was under the David Thompson Health Region.

It has had only five since Alberta Health Services took over health administration for the province in 2008. But the city can now also call for assistance from neighbouring regional ambulance services in Sylvan Lake and Lacombe, said McMullen.

One of the main problems is the bottleneck that happens at the Red Deer hospital emergency department.

Paramedics must wait with patients, often for hours, until they are admitted into a bed.

Usually, hospital patients have to be shuffled around to free up a hospital bed. On seven occasions since last June, Red Deer hospital has had to go to a Level 3 protocol, which means transferring some patients to rural hospitals in the region.

McMullen believes having additional non-emergency ambulances that are designated for transferring patients between facilities would help ease this situation.

He told council this week that it’s possible in some situations, for one paramedic, who is already waiting at the hospital’s emergency room with a patient, to oversee a second patient.

This would free up the second ambulance from also waiting at the hospital.

While it’s theoretically possible for one paramedic to look after three patients in the emergency department, he said the decision is discretionary and depends on the care needs of the patients.

McMullen added paramedics usually find caring for two patients more manageable.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Red Deer City Council

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

Just Posted

Youth worker, hockey coach one of Alberta’s latest COVID-19 victims

Shawn Auger, who was 34, died Monday morning in hospital

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Liberals delay release of wage subsidy details

OTTAWA — Canadian businesses desperate for details about the federal government’s promised… Continue reading

A message from Waskasoo Medical Clinic

A Message From Waskasoo Medical Clinic Waskasoo Medical Clinic (including our walk-in… Continue reading

Dancer’s Edge studio moves to online classes due to COVID-19

Studio looks to bring normalcy to dance students

Opinion: Get accustomed to self-isolation

Whenever the COVID-19 crisis is over, this will be the week likely… Continue reading

Agriculture critical during and post-epidemic, Ag Minister says

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen held a call-in town hall meeting Monday night

Canada Post reminds people to keep a safe distance

Encounters with dogs have increased as more people stay at home

Most Read