EDMONTON, AB (November 27, 2013): Today, the Wildrose Official Opposition called for concrete details from Health Minister Fred Horne on how the province will tackle the issue of inter-facility transfers (IFTs) happening inside of EMS, and the still simmering concerns about the consolidation of dispatch from municipalities across the province.
After months of denying spiking wait times and increased pressure on ambulance services across Alberta, Horne conceded Tuesday scarce ground ambulance resources are being used to move patients for non-urgent care, tying up local emergency care across the province. Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said she is disappointed that Horne failed to act sooner. “This government centralized services away from the experts on the front-lines, and it’s extremely disappointing that it took the will of municipalities and everyday Albertans screaming for this Minister’s attention to finally get some changes made,” Forsyth said. “Immediately addressing the issue of IFTs is critical to fixing this broken system.” Wildrose Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier said he wants Horne to fix the IFT issue and work with municipalities who are strongly against the centralization of ground ambulance dispatch services to just three provincial centres. Stier said the IFT problem has resulted in long ambulance wait times across the province reaching as high as an hour to longer in some regions. He said Albertans deserve more than just an announcement. “We still need a plan and timeline from the Minister. The IFT problem has resulted in wait times reaching up to an hour in some regions,” Stier said. “This issue is putting patients at risk and I hope that the Minister will partner with our municipalities and front-line workers to fix this growing problem.”