Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman today joined Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer, and Don Scott, Mayor for the Municipality of Wood Buffalo, in voicing opposition to the AHS plan of centralizing ambulance dispatch services.
On Tuesday, the four Mayors each received notification of the coming changes. The projected $6 Million in cost savings identified in the Ernst and Young Report does not take into account the additional expenses that will be incurred by municipalities, say the Mayors, who held a joint news conference Wednesday afternoon. For Lethbridge the estimate cost is $2.89 million.
The Mayors say their municipalities and Albertans value an EMS system that is collaborative and accountable. They are collectively calling on Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro to intervene.
"We are strongly opposed of this planned change to EMS dispatch," says Spearman.
"This change will jeopardize ambulance service and timely response to those who require it in Lethbridge and southern Alberta. In Lethbridge, our integrated Fire and EMS system saves money and serves patients with the earliest possible response. Our dually trained paramedics resulted in fire apparatus responding first to medical emergencies 29 per cent of the time in 2019. We wish to work with the Government of Alberta to provide the most efficient and effective system of EMS response that best serves those in need and that provides the best possible service in saving lives. This is about saving lives. Period."
View video recording of the media conference here.