By Letter to the Editor on October 24, 2020.
So, our misguided Minster Shandro “will not overturn the AHS decision” to end the EMS dispatch contracts in Lethbridge. He assures us “There is no reason to expect response times to change.” I beg to differ.
A year ago my wife suffered a TIA (mini-stroke.) I called 911, was told to give her two Aspirins to chew, and that help was on its way. By the time I got the Aspirins, and she chewed them, the ambulance was at our door. Incidentally, we live about three blocks from the fire station.
Now, if I had to call Calgary to get this information, the operator would then relay my message to the nearest location in Lethbridge. What if we lived on a named street? Could the operator get get confused with Coulee, or Drive, or Crescent? You see what I mean. A Lethbridge operator would be better aware of such potential confusions and would ascertain the exact address before sending help, and the response team would also be aware of the possible confusion. In the past we have heard of 911 operators sending help to the wrong address or even to the wrong town! Local people know the areas they work and live in!
Now the real concern: How can two phone calls take the same time to make as one call. Surely there must be a bit of extra time in making the second call, ensuring that the information is accurate and correct. So, Minister Shandro, do you really believe that there will be no change in response time? It seems to me that there will be precious moments lost which might make a difference in some lives being saved! Yes, the government may save money by consolidating the EMS dispatches; but at what potential cost?