August 26, 2014 5:59 pm

Why Calgary wants to opt out of the new ambulance dispatch plan

An AHS ambulance.

Tamara Elliott/Global News

CALGARY- With just eight months to go until Calgary is supposed to hand over 911 dispatch services to the province, the city is trying to get out of the deal.

Since 2009 there has been a plan to consolidate EMS dispatch into three provincial centres. Edmonton is already under the new system, but earlier this year Lethbridge, Red Deer and Fort McMurray struck a deal allowing them to opt out.

The City of Calgary is now looking to keep the system as is.

“What’s changed is in February we’ve seen communities pull out of AHS’ vision of a consolidated dispatch centre around ambulance, and certainly we see the technology that exists in 2014 and the lessons learned over the last seven years of operation to say that what we’re dealing with now is state of the art,” explains Richard Hinse from public safety communications.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi has sent a letter to Health Minister Fred Horne asking him to stop the plan, saying the move is costly and could increase ambulance response times.

Horne and Nenshi plan to meet in the coming days.

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