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Editorial: Ambulance delays need addressing STAT

opinion editorial stock

One of the first things we are taught as children is to call 911 in case of emergency, but with more and more instances of delayed ambulances being reported, it seems we may need to call for help elsewhere. 

In an interview with a Western Wheel reporter, an EMT said these delays are infuriating and she personally has told her family to skip the 911 call and drive themselves to the hospital. 

The Town of Okotoks, along with its neighbours, are calling for an audit on Alberta Health Services dispatch and response times in two resolutions passed at this week's AUMA conference, and as welcomed as that is, changes need to be made immediately. 
Patient care is suffering now and when time is of the essence, this bureaucratic work needs to be fast tracked. 

Alberta Municipalities, formerly known as the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, was given the go ahead by voters to advocate the province to kickstart a third-party review of what's happening on the ground, something HSAA president Mike Parker supports.

But again, not only is this extremely time consuming and likely expensive, it should have already been done. 

An investigation into service levels should have taken place when the province took over ambulance service from the municipal level and adjustments should have already been made. 

Instead, EMTs are left working in skeleton-crew conditions and are often dispatched to areas far out of their own jurisdiction leaving their own coverage areas open and vulnerable.

This will continue to be the reality until the province opens its purse.