EDMONTON, AB: AHS has reduced ambulance delivery in the province to a four-tier scheme that will leave the majority of Alberta dark for timely access to emergency care, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
AHS recently announced new performance targets for four different Alberta regions with no regard for proximity to hospitals or emergency care facilities. Well over 90 per cent of the province’s geography falls under “remote” or “rural” and will continue to face unacceptable wait times for emergency care.
The targets are:
- Remote – 75 minutes;
- Rural – 40 minutes;
- Community >3,000 – 15 minutes;
- Metro/Urban – 12 minutes.
A map for where your community lies can be found here.
Wildrose Shadow Health Minister Drew Barnes said the plan lacks common sense.
“This is just ridiculous. AHS has bedroom communities painted as ‘remote’ and ‘rural’ that are just a short drive away from urban hospitals and emergency care facilities,” Barnes said. “It’s not acceptable that taxpayers in nearby communities and every corner of the province should have to wait 40 to 75 minutes for timely access to emergency care.”
Wildrose Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier said AHS is asking major centres like Calgary and Edmonton to accept higher wait times, even though wait times were shorter when they managed their own services.
“Taxpayers, rural and urban, just aren’t seeing the kind of value they expect for dollars spent on EMS at AHS,” Stier said. “The NDP government is ignoring key recommendations from the 2015 Rural Health Care Review like mandating ambulance crews to return to their local areas following a maximum one hour delay at the receiving hospital rather than being flexed to other areas. Sadly, Albertans will be left paying the price.”