We are taking action to ensure more ambulances and paramedics are available to respond to urgent, life-threatening calls, and that EMS response times are faster.
In Alberta, up to 20% of 911 calls that come to EMS may not require an immediate ambulance response.
Many EMS callers are seeking help, advice or guidance and don’t know where to turn so they call 911 even though they do not need an EMS response. Evidence to-date also demonstrates that some callers looking for ambulance transport have needs that are better met outside the emergency department. Some callers, for example, call 911 when they are experiencing sleeplessness, constipation or earaches.
Through EMS/811 Shared Response, EMS calls that are assessed by EMS as low-acuity – or, not experiencing a medical emergency that requires an ambulance – are now being transferred to Health Link 811 for further assessment, guidance and connection to care, through a Registered Nurse (RN).
If at any point it is determined by the RN that an ambulance is required, one will be dispatched.
EMS and 811 are working together to reduce non-urgent ambulance responses by up to 40,000 trips each year.
Connecting callers to a registered nurse through EMS/811 Shared Response provides more appropriate support for patients while allowing ambulances to remain in the community to respond to life-threatening emergencies. In fact, by transferring non-urgent calls to a registered nurse at Health Link 811, AHS can reduce non-urgent ambulance responses by 40,000 trips each year.
That’s 40,000 more times EMS can be free to respond to life-threatening emergencies, directly reducing EMS response times.