For Immediate Release
March 22, 2018
Alberta’s budget takes a step in the right direction to ease the pressure on the province’s broken EMS system, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA).
“We’re relieved to see that the government has abandoned the two-year spending freeze on ambulance services it proposed last year. The six-per-cent increase of $29 million in that item this year should help provide some of the extra ambulances and paramedics that Albertans desperately need.
“HSAA will be keeping a close eye on where that money is spent to ensure it goes to the front lines where it’s needed,” says Mike Parker, president of HSAA, which represents more than 25,000 health-care professionals. “We are also pleased to see planned growth of five per cent in 2019/2020 and six per cent in 2020/2021 for ambulance services,” he says.
“Meanwhile, we were relieved to see overall operating budget for health care increased by three per cent over last year and for the following two years. We’d been expecting less than that. That compares to predicted population growth and inflation costs rising 3.5 per cent per year,” says Parker.
“We need to see that money directed to front-line care so our health-care system can try to keep pace with the growing demand for services,” he says.
“There are currently 800 unfilled jobs for health-care professionals – positions that haven’t been filled because of a squeeze on spending. That means missing respiratory therapists, social workers, counsellors, lab workers, MRI technologists – there are people missing throughout our system who should be there to help and treat Albertans,” says Parker.