January 22nd, 2021

SACPA to open season with EMS dispatch discussion

By Jensen, Randy on September 2, 2020.


The Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs will open its 53rd season on Thursday discussing the possibility of response time delays if emergency dispatch is centralized in Calgary.

Alberta Health Services recently announced ambulance dispatch services will be consolidated across the province, pulling Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and Wood Buffalo into existing EMS dispatch centres. Lethbridge Fire Department (LFD) has been providing ambulance/EMS services to citizens since 1912, and has always acted as the dispatch service as well. They are currently under contract to AHS EMS to provide the EMS service as well as the dispatch service. The dispatch service provides coverage not only to the City of Lethbridge, but many other EMS services in the area.

LFD has several concerns with Alberta Health Service Emergency Medical Services decision to remove local EMS dispatch from Lethbridge and move it to Calgary. They feel this will create delays in the dispatching of fire units that also provide advanced life support to our citizens. They also have concerns that AHS/EMS-provided dispatch will eliminate the City’s EMS units, leaving the service short of units. As well, a lack of familiarity with this area will arguably create additional delays.

Speaker Warren Nelson will elaborate and explain how crucial quick response times are when trying to save lives.

Nelson is the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters’ Local 237, Lethbridge. He has been with the Lethbridge Fire Department for 22 years and involved with their union since 2001.

Thursday’s online session is set for 10 a.m. on YouTube Live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2XEhTrqhnw.

In order to ask questions of the speaker in the chat feature of YouTube, you must have a YouTube account and be signed in. People are urged to create an account well ahead of the scheduled start time Go to the YouTube Live link provided in the address below and on the top right of your browser click the “sign in” button.

If you have Google or Gmail accounts, they can be used to sign in. If you don’t, click “Create Account” and follow along. Once you are signed in, you can return to the live stream and use the chat feature to ask your questions of the speaker. Remember, you can only participate in the chat feature while the session is livestreaming.

Link to SACPA’s YouTube Channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFUQ5mUHv1gfmMFVr8d9dNA. For further information visit the SACPA website https://www.sacpa.ca/.

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Every Lethbridge resident should be concerned about the decision to centralize this dispatch service. They have tried to sugar coat it, saying we will not notice the change . . . snake oil salesman.
They will tell you that the government has not power over the AHS, that they are autonomous . . . who is in control? The US company that now runs most of the clinics in our city and region?
I remember a campaigning Kenney stating he would reverse this process when he got in . . . okay, sure . . . nudge nudge . . . wink wink!
I also remember another Health Minister over-riding the AHS on this exact matter in 2014….” the then Minister of Health, Fred Horne, called the mayors of Lethbridge, Red Deer and Wood Buffalo ( Fort McMurray ) together to announce that he was over-ruling AHS and establishing/retaining satellite dispatch centres in our three cities.” . . . More poliical psycho babble that says to the constituents, you are dumb and we can tell you anything we want and you will believe it!
Foothills Region has been fighting to take back control of their EMS dispatch services for a few years now . . . realizing the snake oil salesman spoke with a forked tongue!
Educate yourselfs before we see our EMS service further degraded and even privatized . . . I believe these are all steps to privatize EMS and the AHS!
Wake up everyone and get involved now in fighting this or you will be waiting sometime during a Code Red for an ambulance to transport your loved one having a heart attack to the ER because they are out on regional runs and as we have already seen here, you have to take them to the ER with your car!
Check out these links and get involved, there is a lot of information in them to show why we should not be allowing this . . . do we live in a democracy still?
Do not stand allow them to sell you more snake oil . . . remember the SCS promises that cost us over $25 million in the last 2.5 years!!!