May 30th, 2024

Mayor disappointed as ombudsman decline to investigate EMS dispatch consolidation

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 2, 2021.


The Alberta Ombudsman will not do an investigation into Alberta Health Services’ amalgamation of ambulance emergency dispatch services and Lethbridge mayor Blaine Hyggen isn’t happy about it.
Marianne Ryan on Friday announced in a press release on the Alberta government website that “my office thoroughly analyzed the complaint and confirmed that the decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch services was indeed made by AHS. While many government-related bodies fall under my jurisdiction, AHS is not one of them.
“In fact, the Ombudsman Act specifically states that my powers of investigation do not apply to health authorities. My ability to investigate AHS decisions would require a change in legislation. While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction.”
The City of Lethbridge along with Red Deer, Calgary and the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo had filed a complaint to the Ombudsman about the consolidation.
In a written statement earlier this week, Hyggen said he was disappointed.
“It is extremely disappointing to hear that the Alberta Ombudsman will not be investigating our request around the decision to consolidate EMS dispatch. Community safety is our number one priority and we will continue to advocate for the emergency services our residents deserve.
“Since the transition of dispatch to AHS, nearly one year ago, regions across Alberta have experienced significant issues, in varying degrees with the service, which has significantly increased the risk to patient care across our province. Here in Lethbridge, our Fire and EMS teams continue to see key dispatch issues such as inaccurate addressing and delayed response times that are not being addressed.
“We still believe that a third party review is required to investigate what has happened in the past, what is currently happening today and ensure accountability going forward. We’ll be further investigating options that will help us elevate this issue and protect the safety of our residents.”

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Kal Itea

Interesting to see whether our new mayor takes a strong position or does a kabuki dance. re:his alleged ties to the UCP.
Never mess with Jason.