Boost to EMS budget puts more ambulances and paramedics in Alberta communities
A funding plan announced by the province on Friday will put 10 more ambulances on city streets and add over two dozen paramedics to Calgary’s EMS corps.
The initiative is part of the province’s five point emergency medical services (EMS) action plan and is being backed by a $29 million increase to the 2018 EMS budget.
“With more ambulances on the road and more paramedics ready to respond, Albertans will have improved access to emergency medical care when it matters,” said Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health, in a statement.
Officials say the investment will give extra support to rural and metro operations and will improve access to care for Albertans.
The new ambulances will be added as follows:
- Edmonton: 5
- Calgary: 10
- Grande Prairie: 1
- Medicine Hat: 1
- Expanded hours for 5 ambulances to 24/7 coverage in Vilna, St. Paul, Westlock and Sylvan Lake
Additional EMS staff will be provided as follows:
- Edmonton: 28
- Calgary: 30
- Grande Prairie: 8
- Medicine Hat: 8
- Sylvan Lake: 4
- Vilna: 4
- St. Paul: 4
- Westlock: 4
The province says eight new hospital emergency liaison officers will be hired in both Calgary and Edmonton to help facilitate the transfer of patient care from ambulance crews to emergency room staff.
The plan will see the Community Paramedic Program expanded and also includes $1 million for mental health supports for EMS workers.
The total budget for EMS in 2018-19 is $524 million.