Red Deer city council voted unanimously on Thursday to file a complaint with the Alberta Ombudsman about the province’s consolidation of regional ambulance dispatch services.
Since July 2020, Red Deer along with the cities of Lethbridge, Calgary and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo have strongly advocated against the decision by Alberta Health Services and the Government of Alberta to consolidate services.
Despite efforts by the cities, ambulance dispatch was officially consolidated on Jan.12, 2021.
The City of Red Deer said removing local, integrated EMS dispatch has impacted the health and safety of Albertans and impacted patient outcomes in all four regions.
“Our communities have tried every avenue to communicate with our government that this system is flawed and to strongly dispute the effectiveness of it, but our calls for a third party review remain unanswered,” said Mayor Tara Veer in a statement.
“With a municipal election looming, we want to reassure all Albertans, and Alberta Health Services, that we will not be giving up the fight for what we know is in the best interest of patient safety. We hope that filing this official complaint with the Alberta Ombudsman reiterates that we will exhaust every avenue possible to revisit the government’s decision.”
Red Deer encourages all Albertans who may have experienced delays, or a degradation in service since the consolidation, to share their stories with the provincial government, and continue to call on the Premier Jason Kenney and Minister of Health Tyler Shandro to return emergency dispatch services to local jurisdictions in the interest of all Albertans.
“We ask citizens and all municipalities in Alberta to join us in our fight to restore regional ambulance dispatch by writing into your local MLA, the minister of health and the premier with your concerns on how this consolidation has affected dispatch and ambulance response times,” Veer said.