Province adds 28 paramedics, five more ambulances to city
There will be 28 new paramedics with the support of five additional ambulances serving Edmonton to provide faster emergency care, the province announced Friday morning. The addition of more than 100 paramedics and 17 ambulances across the province is part of a five-point action plan to improve access to emergency services for Albertans, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said at the Queen Mary Park Alberta Health Services EMS station.
“Albertans want to know that they and their loved ones will be taken care of if they face a medical emergency,” Hoffman said in a news release. “With more ambulances on the road and more paramedics ready to respond, Albertans will have improved access to emergency medical care when it matters.”
To help ease the demand of emergency crews, Hoffman announced the addition of 16 new hospital emergency liaison officers. These new officers will be split between Edmonton and Calgary to help improve the transfer of care from EMS crews to hospital emergency departments.
Their role will be to care for patients when they arrive at hospitals, allowing first responders to return to the streets quicker. The liaison officers will be stationed at the four biggest hospitals in Edmonton: Grey Nuns, University Hospital, Royal Alexandra and Misericordia.
“I don’t know any paramedics who go out in the field because they want to hang out in emergency departments,” Hoffman said. “They want to get out to the road and they want to be helping save lives.”
Grande Prairie will also see an increase in support with an additional eight paramedics and one ambulance.
A psychologist will be hired to provide mental health support for EMS workers through an investment of $1 million.
The additional support will be funded through the government’s $524-million health budget, which saw a $29-million increase from 2017.
“These investments allow us to address some key priorities and improve access to care for Albertans,” Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Verna Yiu said in a news release.