City coun­cil unan­i­mously passes mo­tion urg­ing con­tin­u­a­tion of dis­patch ser­vice


Lethbridge Herald - - Hometown News - Tim Kali­nowski LETH­BRIDGE HER­ALD

In the lead-up to a cru­cial meet­ing with Alberta Health Min­is­ter Tyler Shan­dro to­day to dis­cuss the fu­ture of EMS dis­patch in the city, Leth­bridge City Coun­cil unan­i­mously passed a mo­tion urg­ing Alberta Health Ser­vices and the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to con­tinue lo­cal dis­patch ser­vice.

AHS an­nounced ear­lier this sum­mer it would be end­ing its con­tracts for lo­cal EMS dis­patch ser­vice in four com­mu­ni­ties, Leth­bridge, Red Deer, Cal­gary and

Wood Buffalo. AHS has at­tempted to do this four times since 2009, and has had its de­ci­sion over­turned each time by the then Min­is­ter of Health for the prov­ince from dif­fer­ent par­ties. City coun­cil­lors said dur­ing Mon­day’s meet­ing they hoped Shan­dro will keep this in mind as he, too, is called upon to make a de­ci­sion on these mat­ters.

The mo­tion, in­tro­duced by Coun. Rob Miyashiro, points out that Leth­bridge has had an in­te­grated EMS and fire ser­vice for 110 years, and that by hav­ing fire ap­pa­ra­tus re­spond to med­i­cal emer­gen­cies 19 per cent of the time in the city due to in­te­grated dis­patch saves lives by de­creas­ing lo­cal re­sponse times.

Mayor Chris Spear­man said it was good know­ing all coun­cil­lors, and in­deed all cit­i­zens of Leth­bridge, are com­pletely united in their sup­port for lo­cal in­te­grated dis­patch head­ing into to­day’s cru­cial meet­ing.

“It was an af­fir­ma­tion mo­tion say­ing we have looked at all the in­for­ma­tion, and we still think re­tain­ing EMS dis­patch in the City of Leth­bridge is the best for pa­tients here not only in the city, but in the re­gion,” said Spear­man. “We will be speak­ing to the Min­is­ter of Health, and we will be mak­ing our case. We want to col­lab­o­rate with Alberta Health Ser­vices. We want to make sure we get the best out­comes. We want to make sure the Min­is­ter fully un­der­stands the cost sav­ings (pro­posed by AHS) re­ally aren’t there when it comes to look­ing at the part­ners. And we hope this min­is­ter will lis­ten be­cause four pre­vi­ous Health Min­is­ters looked at all of this al­ready, and said ‘No.’”

Fol­low @TimKalHer­ald on Twit­ter

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