Travis Toews and Coaldale Mayor Jack Van Rijn address rural EMS concerns

COALDALE, AB - UCP leadership candidate Travis Toews issued the following statement regarding Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Emergency Medical Services reform:
 
The centralization of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is an issue across the province, especially in rural Alberta.
 
“If elected leader, I would be supportive of municipalities who want to take back responsibility for EMS to better serve their communities.
 
AHS centralization has resulted in additional bureaucracy and slower response times.”
 
            | Travis Toews, UCP Leadership Candidate
 
In addition to considering decentralization of dispatch, Toews will implement the two policies passed by UCP members to improve EMS, first by expanding their scope of practice which would permit paramedics to assess and treat non-emergency situations on site without needing to transfer patients to Emergency Departments.
 
The second is to develop triage processes which prioritize the hand-off from paramedics to Emergency Department staff without delay. This would facilitate the quick release and return of paramedics and ambulances back into service.
 
“EMS response times is a real issue for Coaldale. Data shows that over the past decade, the number of 'Code Red' events in Coaldale has increased by 267 per cent, while AHS EMS response times have increased by 100 per cent. A 'Code Red' event occurs when a medical call is made, and no local ambulances are available, so an out-of-district ambulance is dispatched.
 
As a Council, we believe decentralization policies would give the Town the flexibility we need to ensure much-improved service and decrease the number of Code Red events we are currently experiencing.”
 
 Jack Van Rijn, Mayor of Coaldale
 
“Since EMS services were centralized by the province, Coaldale has experienced increasingly less desirable outcomes.
 
For some time now I have worked with the Coaldale Mayor and council and AHS to try and achieve a resolution in regards to their EMS concerns to no avail.
 
I support Travis Toews and his plan to decentralize AHS which will improve healthcare for rural Albertans and include the voices of communities and frontline staff. It’s time to put healthcare decisions back into the hands of Albertans.”
 
 Hon Grant Hunter, MLA Taber Warner

For more information, to learn more about Travis, and to find out why he’s running to lead our province, please visit www.ToewsforAlberta.ca