Alberta hiring more paramedics, buying new ambulances to improve front-line care

By Dean Bennett - The Canadian Press with files from Government of Alberta
December 7, 2018 - 11:27am

EDMONTON --  Alberta is hiring more paramedics and deploying more ambulances in an attempt to improve front-line medical care.

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says the province is adding 58 first responders in Edmonton and Calgary to go with more than 30 new hires in smaller centres. (Lethbridge is not among them).

She says there will also be 16 liaison officers for hospitals in Edmonton and Calgary to help paramedics when they deliver patients.

The idea is to get paramedics back out on the streets faster.

Hoffman says the province is also expanding home care that allows paramedics to treat vulnerable people and seniors where they live rather than having them go to hospitals.

The changes are being paid for by an extra $29 million included in this year's budget.
New ambulances

Edmonton – 5
Calgary – 10
Grande Prairie – 1
Medicine Hat – 1
Expanded hours for 5 ambulances to 24/7 coverage in Vilna, St. Paul, Westlock and Sylvan Lake

New EMS staff

Edmonton – 28
Calgary – 30
Grande Prairie – 8
Medicine Hat – 8
Sylvan Lake – 4
Vilna – 4
St. Paul – 4
Westlock – 4

New Hospital Emergency Liaison Officers

Edmonton – 8
Calgary – 8

The government invested $11 million to expand the Community Paramedic Program in February of 2018, allowing paramedics to provide care to seniors and other vulnerable Albertans in their homes and now operates in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Camrose, Grande Prairie, Peace River, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.  As well, Hospital Emergency Liaison Officers help improve the transfer of care of patients from EMS ambulance crews to the emergency department, freeing the crews to return to the community more quickly.

A new psychologist will support the mental health of EMS workers and help paramedics work through the emotional stress involved in delivering front-line emergency medical care.

Over 1 million Albertans receive flu-vaccination

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