August 25, 2022
CALGARY– Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Services (AHS EMS) has added additional paramedic staff and increased ambulance hours to better serve patients in the communities of Okotoks and Chestermere.
Ambulance coverage in both Chestermere and Okotoks will now be available, locally, 24 hours daily. Previously, ambulances from surrounding areas have served the community outside of coverage hours.
“These additional resources are another step forward in the ongoing response to the unprecedented increase in demand on EMS. They’ll help improve services in Okotoks and Chestermere, as well as the communities and rural areas around them,” says Minister of Health Jason Copping. “We’ll keep adding capacity to the system and working to bring response times back down within AHS’s targets, where they were until volumes surged last summer.”
This expanded service provision is the result of the EMS 10-Point Plan, which is creating capacity in the healthcare system as EMS continues to manage a sustained increase in 911 calls. Prior to the addition of these resources, AHS EMS considered such factors as municipal call volume, population increase, age and demographics, and each community’s proximity to urgent and emergency healthcare facilities.
“We have been steadfast in our goal of adding capacity to the system,” says Darren Sandbeck, Chief Paramedic and Senior Provincial Director, AHS EMS. “We continue to manage a sustained increase in call volume of about 30 percent above pre-pandemic call volume that is keeping EMS crews busy. I want to thank our paramedics and staff profoundly for their continued service and dedication to patients.”
As of August 15, eight new paramedics have started working in Okotoks and Chestermere – four in each municipality. This additional suburban coverage is also being bolstered by nine additional ambulances which are now serving patients in Calgary and Edmonton, helping to relieve some pressure on EMS, and reducing demand on EMS support from neighbouring communities. These new ambulances have been funded through $16 million included in the current Government of Alberta budget, and are also a component of the AHS EMS 10 Point Plan.
To learn more about the work that AHS is doing to ensure sustainable high-quality emergency medical services are available for all Albertans, visit our website.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.