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PCs need to start taking rural ambulance wait times seriously

EDMONTON, AB (November 14, 2013): After weeks of questioning from Wildrose MLAs, Health Minister Fred Horne refuses to admit rural ambulance wait times are putting patients at risk and fix his broken ambulance dispatch scheme, Wildrose MLA Pat Stier said today.  

Under this PC government’s flex-dispatch system, scarce emergency medical units jump from region to region to cover for ones sent away on non-emergency transfers to major cities, leaving entire corridors of the province dark.  “This PC government is leaving communities vulnerable, and Minister Horne won’t even concede there’s a problem,” Stier said. “He even went so far as to claim the current system is ‘completely in-line with what Albertan’s expect.’ He needs to admit there’s a crisis happening with EMS service in Alberta and partner with our municipalities who are trying to improve the current system.”  Across southern Alberta, ambulance wait times can average anywhere from a half hour to an hour. This issue first began when the PC government moved to centralize ambulance dispatch and services.  “This is not what Albertans expect,” Stier said. “For a farmer who collapses in his field, a half-hour to an hour means the difference between life and death. We had a system that worked before this government began to meddle. Now, Minister Horne’s ignoring the problem when it’s his responsibility to fix.”  In addition to numerous reeves, councillors and mayors, Stier said front line EMS workers are contacting his office to express concern over Horne’s botched system.  VIDEO of Wildrose MLAs addressing rural ambulance dispatch can be found below. Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier: October 28th and November 5th in Question Period. Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Gary Bikman: October 29th in Question Period. Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Bruce Rowe: November 5th  Members Statement.