New ambulances a small step in the right direction

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) President, Mike Parker reacts to the news more ambulances have been added for Edmonton and Calgary.

Edmonton — Ten new ambulances, five in Edmonton and five in Calgary, being added is a start but it is only a drop in the bucket of what’s needed to meet demand for emergency services.

“Ambulances are a good start, but they don’t care for the sick and injured, people do,” said Mike Parker, President, HSAA. “We started this week in Alberta with more than 500 paramedic shifts unstaffed. We need people!”

The current government is asserting it has hired enough paramedics to staff these new ambulances, but they have said that before and the reality on the street is they haven’t.

“We know,” continued Parker, “that in some cases paramedics are simply being redeployed to staff new equipment leaving their previous assignment unfilled. New equipment is always necessary, but it’s people who answer the emergency calls and respond, not phones and ambulances.”

HSAA has been calling on government for years to do more to retain the emergency response professionals we have, do more recruiting, and restart harm reduction and mental health and wellness programs that are proven to reduce the impact on the system and save lives.

HSAA is 29,0000 health-care professionals dedicated to protecting the public health system and the vulnerable Albertans who rely on it.