Local officials disappointed City will lose dispatch

  • Mar. 13, 2013 3:16 p.m.

Red Deer will lose its Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Dispatch Centre after the province accepted a recommendation from the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) last week to dissolve dispatch operations in Red Deer and consolidate it to two centres – one in Calgary and one in Edmonton.

“We are very disappointed with this decision. It discounts the value of local knowledge, and we believe consolidation of these services in the two metropolitan centres is the wrong move,” said City Manager Craig Curtis.

“We are well positioned to continue providing ambulance dispatch on an ongoing basis, and we strongly urge the province to reconsider this decision.

“One of the cases they have made is that they will have new technology to track ambulances across the province to be able to communicate between zones. I just wanted to make it absolutely clear that we believe that that is a little disingenuous because in fact we proposed to upgrade our service to that technology.

“We can already track – that’s a more advanced technology that they are going to put in Edmonton and Calgary. All they needed to do for the regional centres was to allow us to install and fund the new technology. We put in a written proposal to the province to do that and they rejected it because they had this overriding philosophy of consolidation. To use that as a reason — they need to consolidate because they need the new technology — is misleading. These technologies can work just as effectively on a regional basis as they can on a consolidated metropolitan basis.”

The recommendations from HQCA and the province came in the form of a 350-page report. At this time, the City has not been contacted directly from the province regarding the impact of the recommendations, and timing related to consolidation of emergency dispatch remains unknown.

“This is yet another example of centralization that hurts our region. I am extremely disheartened by some of the recommendations in this report and the decision to centralize ambulance dispatch. I will advocate for this decision to be reversed; but regardless, we will ensure our EMS continues to provide the service Red Deerians expect and deserve,” said Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

The City of Red Deer has worked hard over the past five years to focus on regional dispatch operations for Red Deer and surrounding communities, and it’s all been done with efficiency and exceptional service in mind, officials added.

“Our EMS Dispatch Centre is familiar with the local and rural areas we serve,” said Curtis. “The logistical and familiarity issues raised in 2009 still remain – a mapping system can’t entirely replace the local knowledge and expertise built into our current ambulance dispatch system.”

The HQCA report also outlines recommendations related to the 9-1-1 system, EMS delivery system, information and managing the quality and safety of the EMS system, and quality and safety management.

The report recommends a minimum basic life support system, which is a lower level of care than the City currently provides through its ambulance response.

However, at this time, the City is unclear on how that may impact its contract for ambulance or what level of service is provided by other ambulances to Red Deer residents.

For more information, or to read the full report, visit HQCA’s web site or www.health.alberta.ca/newsroom.html.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Motown Soul celebrates ‘greats’ of classic era

Show pays tribute to Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye among others

Women of Excellence Awards introduces ‘Women of Excellence in Construction’

Gala will take place June 19th at the Sheraton Red Deer

Check online to make sure you’re registered to vote in upcoming provincial election

Advance polls open Tuesday, April 9th to Saturday, April 13th

UPDATE: Christy Starling has been found

Red Deer RCMP thank the public for their assistance

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Most Read