EMS is in Crisis: Here are the Solutions

Alberta EMS is in crisis. Data has revealed long hallway wait times, spiraling costs and operational issues

Alberta Liberal’s were tired of waiting for AHS and the NDP Government to take action after raising this important issue in the spring. To begin building solutions the Alberta Liberal Opposition launched the EMS Hotline and Survey this summer.

Using this data and consultations with experts Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA Dr. David Swann put together to identify EMS’ problems and propose solutions.

David Swan and Alberta Liberal leader David Khan discuss how Alberta’s EMS Crisis is impacting patient care

The Alberta Liberals have identified the following problems:

  1. Bed block: EMS and ER patients are stuck waiting for admission because beds in the hospital are full. EMS providers have to wait with their patients and that takes 2 person crews and their ambulance temporarily off the street.
  2. High demand in ERs: ER is increasingly full of patients needing to be triaged and treated. EMS have to stay and care for their patients because there are not enough health care providers in ER to manage them.
  3. High demand on EMS: EMS patient volume is increasing and there are not enough EMS providers to meet that demand.

The Alberta Liberals have put forward the following solutions:

  1. Intermediate ER health care providers: ERs should be equipped with additional health care providers capable of rapid triage and short-term patient management. These could include permanent on-site EMS staff (no ambulance) or nurses. EMS crews bringing in patients could hand them over quicker and get back on the road quicker.
  2. More community paramedics: Additional EMS providers could be tasked with in-home triage and treat non-life-threatening cases in the community. tHis can also involve transport to an appropriate lower acuity setting such as a walk-in clinic or urgent/intermediate care centre, or refer to family doctor or pharmacist. This will improve EMS capacity and reduce ER congestion.
  3. Improve EMS-ER handover efficiency: Accommodating patients in the ER should be the responsibility of the hospital. We need to maximise the use of advanced technology and create streamlined handover procedures to boost efficiencies. This requires coordination of and cooperation by EMS and ER staff.
  4. Alleviate demand on the ER: Ensure that ER is reserved for emergencies. Boost public awareness of alternative care options including family doctor, walk-in, urgent care and pharmacists.
  5. Reduce access block: Increase community and continuing care so we can safely discharge more patients sooner and open up more beds sooner for new patients.

Albertans deserve quality health care and David Khan’s Alberta Liberals are committed to making sure they get it.