Alberta Health Services (AHS) has 10 additional net-new ambulances in service for Alberta patients, with five each in Calgary and Edmonton, AHS announced Tuesday. The new ambulances are intended to help relieve pressure on EMS and improve access to emergency patient care.
The new ambulances are in addition to nine net-new ambulances that went into service in June 2022, for a total of 19. They have been funded through $16 million included in the current Government of Alberta Budget, and are one component of the AHS EMS 10 Point Plan to address sustained high call volume and ensure Albertans get emergency care when needed.
EMS has experienced a sustained increase in 911 call volumes of up to 30 percent above pre-pandemic levels, and call volumes have increased nearly 60 percent since 2010. All call types have increased and staff illness and fatigue continue to contribute to challenges in the healthcare system, according to an AHS release.
AHS has also hired new paramedics– 20 each in Calgary and Edmonton--to augment an additional 40 paramedic positions that AHS EMS hired in the spring of 2022.
“Our teams have been planning ahead and working closely with our suppliers over the last year to expedite the arrival of these vehicles so we can continue providing the best care to Albertans,” said Darren Sandbeck, Chief Paramedic and Senior Provincial Director, AHS EMS.
NDP Health critic David Shepherd says it's the UCP's doing that ambulance response times have drastically increased.
“The UCP have completely neglected paramedics, leaving them to face tremendous increased pressure on health care without added support. The current situation is not sustainable and, as a result, more paramedics are leaving the profession altogether. This leads to staff shortages that mean ambulances stay parked instead of responding to Albertans’ emergencies."