Faster re­sponse

Pro­vin­cial govern­ment in­vest­ing close to $600,000 in new am­bu­lance for east­ern Kings County and a new com­puter sys­tem in all ve­hi­cles provincewide

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE STE­WART dstew­art­the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/DveSte­wart

In­vest­ment of close to $600,000 means new am­bu­lance, com­puter sys­tem.

A new am­bu­lance for the east­ern por­tion of the Is­land and a new com­puter soft­ware sys­tem for the en­tire prov­ince aim to im­prove re­sponse times in P.E.I.

The pro­vin­cial govern­ment an­nounced on Fri­day that it was in­vest­ing $588,000 in two ar­eas.

First, east­ern Kings County is get­ting an ad­di­tional am­bu­lance at a cost of $388,000, which takes into ac­count money for the op­er­a­tion of the ve­hi­cle and hir­ing four new staff. The am­bu­lance will go into ser­vice in Fe­bru­ary and will be sta­tioned in the St. Pe­ters area.

Res­i­dents in the east­ern part of the prov­ince have been fight­ing for an ad­di­tional am­bu­lance for some time.

“Data has reaf­firmed the need for an am­bu­lance in the St. Pe­ters area base of op­er­a­tions,’’ said Health Min­is­ter Robert Hen­der­son. “It’s an in­te­grated sys­tem . . . to ex­pand the ground am­bu­lance fleet, re­duce re­sponse times and im­prove ser­vices of­fered in the am­bu­lance.’’

The de­mand for emer­gency health ser­vices con­tin­ues to rise steadily across the prov­ince. The num­ber of 911 calls re­quir­ing an am­bu­lance re­sponse dou­bled since 2008, in­creas­ing from 6,000 pre-hos­pi­tal calls in 2008 to 12,000 this past year.

To­day, the av­er­age pro­vin­cial re­sponse time is nine min­utes and 46 sec­onds, an im­prove­ment, Health P.E.I. says, over 2011 num­bers where re­sponse in ru­ral ar­eas was 22-27 min­utes and sim­i­lar to the ur­ban re­sponse time of nine min­utes five years ago.

Re­sponse times in De­cem­ber 2015 were fairly con­sis­tent across the prov­ince, rang­ing, on av­er­age, from eight min­utes and 15 sec­onds to 13 min­utes and 36 sec­onds.

Dr. Scott Cameron, chair­man of the emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices board, said they rec­og­nize the pres­sure points, es­pe­cially in the east­ern end of the Is­land.

“We want to en­sure there are ve­hi­cles when they are re­quired, where they are re­quired,’’ Cameron said. “A lot of times an am­bu­lance not be­ing in Souris is a re­flec­tion of pres­sures else­where in the sys­tem. This new ve­hi­cle re­ally acts as a buf­fer so that the Souris ve­hi­cle will be less likely to get pulled in to­wards the cen­tre (of the prov­ince) very of­ten.’’

Mean­while, the new Com­puter As­sisted Dis­patch (CAD) soft­ware (cost: $200,000) cap­tures the geo-lo­ca­tions of all ac­tive am­bu­lances across the prov­ince at any given time, as well as re­sponse times, call vol­umes and the na­ture of calls.

Cameron said CAD will pro­vide data that tells them who needs an am­bu­lance, what type of care they re­quire most of­ten and when they most of­ten need it, so that ser­vice can be ad­justed ac­cord­ingly.

Darcy Clin­ton, gen­eral man­ager with Is­land EMS, said an­a­lyt­ics are im­por­tant.

“Now, with the data (we can) fur­ther en­sure we are pro­vid­ing the right care at the right place at the right time,’’ Clin­ton said.

HEATHER TAWEEL/THE GUARDIAN

Dr. Scott Cameron, fore­ground, chair­man of the emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices board, says the new Com­puter As­sisted Dis­patch (CAD) soft­ware will be in­stalled in all am­bu­lances across P.E.I. CAD tracks am­bu­lances and will be used to cre­ate data that will help put Is­land EMS in a po­si­tion to im­prove re­sponse times. Darcy Clin­ton, gen­eral man­ager of Is­land EMS, says an­a­lyt­ics are im­por­tant when it comes to de­ter­min­ing how to be in the right place at the right time.

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