CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Alberta Health Services (AHS) announced EMS 911 dispatch services will now be consolidated across the province.
The move is in line with a recommendation that came from the audit of AHS released earlier this year.
Currently, EMS 911 calls are handled by four municipally-run dispatch sites in Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and Wood Buffalo.
Those calls will now be transitioned to one of three existing AHS EMS dispatch centres in Calgary, Peace River and Edmonton.
“The adoption of this recommendation from the EY (Ernst & Young) AHS Review is a further evolution of Alberta’s promise to put patients first,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.
“The provincial EMS dispatch system allows for better coordination of all EMS resources, including ground ambulances, and air resources, and reliable response times. EMS dispatch consolidation supports improved health integration and will facilitate broader health reforms.”
“This is about Albertans & providing the best care to 911 callers & patients. 911 callers will notice no change when they call for emergency help,” says Darren Sandbeck, Chief Paramedic and Senior Provincial Director, AHS EMS. https://t.co/WpmlVybm5V
— ahs_media (@AHS_media) August 4, 2020
This transition will affect EMS 911 dispatch services only. All local fire, police and Medical First Response will still be dispatched by municipal services.
AHS said this allows EMS to send the nearest available ambulance to a patient regardless of geographic boundaries and is expected to save over $6 million a year.
“The consolidation is the right decision for any Albertan needing emergency medical care,” said Dr. Verna Yiu, AHS President and CEO. “This will improve care and ensure we are being fiscally responsible.”
The transition will take place over the next six months beginning Tuesday.
AHS will also hire 25 new Emergency Communications Officers during the transition period.