April 21st, 2024

EMS motion defeat disappointing: Mayor

By Lethbridge Herald on March 16, 2021.

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman said he, like his colleagues in Red Deer, the RM of Wood Buffalo and Calgary, is disappointed the provincial government chose on Monday to defeat a motion brought forward to the Legislature which would have reversed an AHS decision on EMS integrated dispatch, and returned local dispatch control to the four cities.
“We were hoping this would be a free vote, and we saw it as a non-partisan issue,” he said. “We thought every member of the legislature would be interested in the importance of community safety, and preserving the effectiveness of emergency services. All four of our communities have submitted detailed technical briefings on the shortcomings since we have gone to a consolidated EMS dispatch service. And we are concerned that, ultimately, delays and the reduction of service will cost a life at some point.”
Spearman conceded had local UCP MLAs been allowed to vote against the decision of their own Minister of Health Tyler Shandro it likely would have looked bad for the government.
“It’s the dilemma MLAs have,” stated Spearman.
“Are they there to represent their communities? Or there to represent the government to us? We hope when it comes to the delivery of life and death services that our MLAs will stand up for their constituents.”
Spearman said beyond the defeat of the legislative motion on Monday all arguments have been heard in Wood Buffalo’s court case against the province, and the final court decision has been delayed, with the consent of both sides, until May to allow the parties to work through their differences.
Spearman said the promised meetings between Shandro and community representatives haven’t occurred yet, but AHS has set up meetings with the cities’ fire chiefs to address ongoing dispatch concerns.
“Meetings are scheduled,” he stated, “but I don’t think any things of substance have been discussed yet. They involve the fire chiefs of each community discussing with Alberta Health Services on how to improve the issues they (AHS) say don’t exist.”
As things unfold, Spearman urged local residents to keep making their voices heard to local MLAs and the Premier.
“I would say to our constituents this type of service is one you may only require once in your life, or your loved ones may only require once, but when you actually need it you want the quickest and most effective service,” he stated.
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So what does AHS say doesn’t exist. Or we plebes paying the bill not in the loop to have that knowledge. I’m sure if there were major issues the “ambulance chasers” in the media would be all over it.


This government wants to privatize the EMS service, the hospitals, and other healthcare facitlies. They want to turn it into an Ontario type system!
Ontario has big issues with their EMS, their private seniors ‘care’ homes, and their healthcare in general needs it’s own changes.
COVID has hundreds of US hospitals shut down and many more facing bankruptcy, but his government ignores the negaitve impacts of those areas . . . full steam ahead to a worse, more costly private system that will see many people unable to afford their basic healthcare!
I think we are gong to see another orange wave next election after the UCP’s have made so many bad decisions and ignored the people . . . the electorate’s concerns!
It will far outway the positve changes such as shutting the SCS . . . which I will add has dramatically reduced the fatal overdoses in this city and the number of addicts! Look at the fatal overdoses for Lethbridge in the last quarter of 2018, 2019 and 2020 in the Coroner’s reports!
To date, this year we still have not had a fatal overdose for 2021! The sky never fell and dead bodies were not laying all over Lethbridge!
That is one thing to their credit . . . but, it is overshadowed from all the bad decisions they have made, including this EMS dispatch change.
So . . . they wanted to save $6 million, province wide, but they built a new dispatch center that costs $13 million . . . even after some major regions found it cost more to operate, reduced their services because their EMS was in another district, overlapped services in many cases taking valuable assets out of the disptach availablility and delays because the centralized dispatch staff where not familar with the areas they were dispatching EMS to, and relied solely on technology such as GPS and digital maps!
People will die, to save $6 million? Which they won’t!!! I guess that puts the price on human life and there will be more than 6 people die over the years. . . or possibly 6 people have already died.
This is what happens when an accountant says this is how you can save money!!!
Sad . . . I thought Nathan Neudorf was doing a great job and has proven to be a hard worker for this city and province . . . Oh well . . . !