Survey says EMS in critical condition
Published Friday, March 2, 2012 2:49PM MST
The Health Science Association of Alberta has released the results of an EMS survey and says that problems with emergency services exist across the province.
"Alberta's EMS system is experiencing critical problems that are wide-spread," said Elisabeth Ballermann, President of HSAA, "On the heels of a survey of our members in Edmonton last November, we conducted a survey of Emergency Medical Services personnel in Metro Calgary, Rural/Non Metro areas and Inter-Facility Transfers. What we discovered was that the low morale due to lack of resources (of both staff and equipment), poor management practices and backups in the rest of the health care system, which our Edmonton members experienced, was shared by their co-workers across the province," said Ballermann.
The HSAA says EMS workers are frustrated with management practices implement by Alberta Health Services and workers say they fail to address the front-line issues.
They say that the new management practices have left a wake of communication problems and given rise to regular mistreatment of members.
The health union says poor training of dispatchers has created conditions that put both EMS workers and patients at risk and that immediate action is needed to rectify the problems.
"The review of EMS that Minister Horne announced earlier this week is welcomed," said Ballermann. "We know that it will confirm what we have been saying for some time now. But launching a review is in no way an acceptable excuse for taking no action now."
Ballermann went on to say that waiting for the results of a review will not help Albertans who need help now. "In our business, minutes lost mean that patients will spend much more time in recovery, if they are fortunate enough to make it to the hospital."
The survey also indicated that many EMS workers are so frustrated that they are thinking about moving to another province and some are considering packing in their careers altogether.