STRATHMORE, AB (September 13, 2013): Until Health Minister Fred Horne and Alberta Health Services (AHS) step up to the plate and finalize a contract agreement with the Wheatland and District Emergency Medical Services Association (WADEMSA), ambulance services to Strathmore and area will continue to be at risk, Wildrose Strathmore-Brooks MLA Jason Hale said today.
After two years of negotiations, AHS dropped $500,000 in funding to WADEMSA in April and has failed to successfully negotiate a new contract since then. After a month of negotiations, the contract has been extended another six months after the dismissal of AHS VP Chris Mazurkiewitz, creating even more financial uncertainty going forward. In a letter to Minister Horne and Deputy Minister of Health Janet Davidson, Hale asked for immediate action to take control of the situation. “WADEMSA has provided invaluable service to our community for over 25 years and runs at a more efficient cost than ambulance service would under provincial authority,”Hale said. “I urge the minister to immediately take control and approve the contract WADEMSA has proposed to AHS so the people of Strathmore and area can continue to receive the world class service they deserve.” Hale said that after the PC government’s mismanagement delivering ambulance services to rural Albertans for the past several years, maintaining WADEMSA should be a no-brainer. “Simply put, there is no way the province can run an ambulance service better than our local people,” Hale said. “It’s time for the minister to finalize a contract and restore the funding so we can ensure that those who need the services can continue to get them.”