Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) President, Mike Parker, reacts to the news paramedics are being instructed to no longer take certain patients to hospitals.
Edmonton — Alberta’s current Health Minister announced today that EMS crews will now have more options where they can take patients instead of going to over-burdened emergency rooms.
“The minister is selling transporting patients to sites other than hospitals as a new thing, it isn’t… it’s been happening for more than a decade,” said HSAA President and Advanced Care Paramedic, Mike Parker. “On top of that, the minister had no information on how his ‘initiative’ will affect wait times, and Alberta’s chief paramedic stood next to the minister and said this plan will have little effect.”
“If the idea is to actually ease the burden on EMS crews in major cities, the approach is all wrong,” continued Parker, “We need more crews and have needed them for a long time.”
Right now, there are hundreds of July shifts in Edmonton and Calgary that are not covered because there are not enough ‘tireless paramedics’ to fill them. Parker asserts, “This will not be fixed by playing shell games with patients – transporting patients from major cities to rural sites.”
“I’m at a loss to explain why the chief paramedic and the minister of health aren’t addressing capacity issues, including health-related leave,” added Parker, “This plan simply avoids the actual issues faced by EMS.”
Parker concluded, “This announcement will make no difference for Albertans requiring medical care. It’s long past time the systemic problem of understaffing was addressed so our dedicated professionals can be there for the sick and injured.”
HSAA is 27,000 health-care professionals dedicated to protecting the public health system and the vulnerable Albertans who rely on it.
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Kirk Heuser, HSAA Communications Officer
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