The City of Red Deer received strong support from other municipalities to advocate to the Government of Alberta and the Minister of Health to undertake an independent third-party review of the Alberta Health Services (AHS) emergency ambulance dispatch at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Annual Conference today in Edmonton.
The resolution also lists advocacy by AUMA to the Government of Alberta to investigate the increase in response times and the technical outages that have occurred since transition to consolidation began in 2009, through the third-party review.
“It is no secret that municipalities are frustrated regarding the lack of consultation and response on this matter,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “Red Deer, Lethbridge, Calgary and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo have been at the forefront in attempting to convince the Government of Alberta to reverse the AHS decision to fully centralized ambulance emergency dispatch services, and now with the support of AUMA, we hope that the Government of Alberta finally listens to our concerns for the safety and wellbeing of all Albertans.”
On January 12, 2021, emergency ambulance dispatch was fully consolidated into the AHS provincial dispatch system. This removed it from the four integrated satellite centers, which were used to assist in providing this vital health service. Since the move to a total provincial dispatch system, there have several cases of increased response times and technical errors, which have put Albertans’ lives at risk.
The AUMA issued a statement on this matter in August 2020. Key issues that were raised included that more information about the impact of consolidation on response times was required and the lack of consultation. This new resolution speaks directly to the performance issues that AHS is experiencing with the centralized service model, and that an independent review of performance measures is required.
The annual AUMA Convention focuses on building strategic partnerships between all orders of government to meet municipal needs. Each year, The City of Red Deer determines if any local advocacy issues may be common with other municipalities and prepares resolutions for consideration at the annual AUMA Conference. When resolutions are approved, AUMA has the mandate to follow through on the resolution requirements.
“We thank the AUMA membership for their support on this vital step towards realizing the impact of consolidation on response times,” said Mayor Johnston. “A third-party review is the next best step in validating and confirming that the AHS decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch was a mistake and is costing Albertans their lives.”
The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association was founded in 1905 and represents Alberta’s urban municipalities including cities, towns, villages, summer villages, and specialized municipalities, as well as Associate and Affiliate members, representing more than 85 per cent of Albertans. Their goal is to develop a strong and engaged partnership between all three levels of government.
For more information, please contact:
The City of Red Deer