Nine additional ambulances have now been added to Calgary and Edmonton to help alleviate pressures on EMS, Alberta Health Services announced on Tuesday.
Four of the ambulances are in Calgary and five are in Edmonton, all of which are fully operational. AHS has also added four new non-ambulance transport vehicles to Edmonton.
AHS said $16 million was used to fund the ambulances. That money was allocated through the province’s 2022 Budget. The funding is part of the Alberta government’s 10-point plan to address problems within the EMS system.
“Every resource we can add helps us provide care for Albertans,” said Darren Sandbeck, AHS’ chief paramedic and senior provincial director.
“We continue to see a large increase in call volume that is keeping EMS crews busy, and these new ambulances and their paramedic crews are already hard at work serving Albertans.”
New staff has also been hired to work within the ambulances, according to AHS. EMS posted several new positions in May and June, including:
- 40 primary care paramedics: 12 roles in Calgary and 20 in Edmonton have been filled.
- 16 emergency medical responders who are responsible for inter-facility transfers: Three have been hired in Calgary and seven in Edmonton.
- 40 temporary rover positions in Calgary and Edmonton. Ten positions each in the North Zone, Central Zone and South Zone have been extended until March 2023.
AHS said additional staffing resources will also be added throughout the year.
“Our healthcare system remains under strain, especially in Edmonton and Calgary, and we continue to see increased pressure on EMS and our emergency departments in particular,” Health Minister Jason Copping said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
“We are adding resources and staff across the system, and this will help to ensure Albertans continue to get the care they need.”