Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) President Mike Parker will be available at 2:00 p.m. to discuss today’s EMS funding news.
“The steps announced to address the crisis in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) by Jason Kenney show he doesn’t understand what needs to be done to ensure people who need care, get it,” said Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) President Mike Parker.
HSAA represents paramedics and emergency communications officers (ECOs) in Alberta. While HSAA’s advocacy has government finally paying attention, new ambulances with no one to crew them just sit empty.
“ECOs and paramedics respond to Albertans in emergencies, not ambulances,” continued Parker. “People make the system work. For ten years they have been dealing with increases in call volumes. Kenney himself said demand has increased 30 percent this year. The system is stretched beyond its capability and the only thing holding it together is its people.”
2021 saw a Calgary ambulance unused with no crew for a shift more than 3,200 times. In January in Edmonton, an ambulance was parked in the garage, without a crew available, 348 times.
“AHS treats our EMS members as expendable rather than the highly valuable professionals they are,” said Parker. “Paramedics and ECOs deal with non-stop calls during any given shift and are pressured into accepting excessive overtime. They don’t get breaks and are often denied vacations. The result is unacceptably high rates of burnout, physical and psychological injury, and people leaving the profession.”
Three things are needed immediately:
- A plan to retain paramedics and emergency communications officers we currently have.
- A plan to train and recruit more paramedics and emergency communications officers.
- Reinstate harm reduction programs to ease the burden on EMS.
“All HSAA members want is to be able to be there when people need them,” Parker concluded.
2:00 P.M. NEWS CONFERENCE: HSAA President Mike Parker
Meeting ID: 864 6943 7848
HSAA is 28,000 health-care professionals dedicated to caring for Albertans.