September 16, 2016 12:10 am

Alberta paramedics able to do more with law change

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta's NDP government is expanding the role of paramedics in the hope it will help to address the province's Code Red problem. A Code Red is when there are no ambulances available to respond to an emergency call. Tom Vernon has the details.

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Paramedics in Alberta now have access to additional treatment tools to help patients in rural and remote areas.

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says the transfer of the paramedic profession from the Health Disciplines Act to the Health Professions Act will strengthen health care in Alberta.

She says the change will let paramedics administer a wider variety of diagnostic tests, including portable laboratory blood testing and ultrasounds.

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Hoffman says this information can help determine medical conditions, including whether a patient has an infection or is suffering from a heart attack.

The change also allows community care paramedics to conduct more medical tests in a patient’s home and provide medication to a patient until they can get to their community pharmacy.

The new regulation also allows paramedics to collaborate and work directly with nurse practitioners.

“We know that the more we can do on the front lines, the better it is for patients and the broader health-care system,” Darren Sandbeck, chief paramedic with Alberta Health Services.

“Using our community paramedic program as an example, by providing more care in the community, we are reducing pressure on emergency departments.”

Alberta has approximately 10,000 registered paramedics.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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