Prov­ince adds 28 paramedics, five more am­bu­lances to city

Edmonton Journal - - CITY - DUSTIN COOK dus­[email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/dustin_­cook3

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.

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