AHS/ EMS recently announced their “Comprehensive 10 Point Plan for addressing the extraordinary increase in EMS calls that have been experienced over the last months”, and further states that “This plan focuses on immediate actions that will help create capacity within our system, will ensure that EMS continues to be available and safe for all Albertans.”
This announced ‘plan’ is far from “comprehensive”, and will not result in any significant improvement to the disaster that EMS has become.
The deterioration and degradation of EMS is not a new phenomenon that has manifested itself over “the past months.” Unless by that, they mean the months encompassing the past 12 years.
There are no “immediate actions” here that will “create capacity”, nor “ensure that EMS continues to be available and safe.” EMS is not available and safe now, as indicated by the ever-increasing response times and distances.
“Points of action” that, “will be adding, will be implementing, will have, will assist, is being considered, will look at,” will change nothing, and certainly are not “immediate actions.”
Further stated; “Finally, Alberta Health will also be leading an EMS advisory group over the coming months, and EMS looks forward to new ideas and connections coming from that work. This plan allows us to act immediately…”. four months, or more, awaiting their report, is not “immediately”.
EMS has been handed ‘new ideas’ and solutions to EM Mess, by pleading medics, for the past 12 plus years, and nothing has been done. This whole announcement is more gaslighting the public. Similar to the oft repeated “We always have an ambulance available to respond, and you get the closest ambulance.” But you won’t be told how far away that nearest ambulance is, nor how long you will have to wait.
If anyone in AHS leadership really wanted to fix this, they would immediately:
• Replace EMS ‘mismanagement’ with a leader with the courage and passion to make EMS what is was, and more. Putting the people that got us into this mess, in charge of getting us out, is not wise, nor logical.
• Stop the practice of paramedic crews being held hostage in hospital hallways for hours, and shifts, on end. EMS is not a solution to a hospital problem. It is not our job, and it prevents us from doing our job.
• Stop using emergency ambulances as taxis and inter-facility transfer units.
• Stop bullying and suspending medics who stand up and advocate for patients and co-workers. Applaud them instead. These are the people that should be on the “committee.” But not one front-line worker is.
These initial four simple steps would ‘immediately’ boost staff morale 100 per cent and increase the workforce, and more than double the number available ambulances. Then the rebuild starts.
George Porter M.E.M., ACP (ret)
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