The additional resources are part of an ongoing commitment by the Ministry of Health, the Provincial Health Services Authority, and BCEHS to increase the number of permanent paramedic positions, and improve ambulance services in urban, rural and remote areas of the province.
The two communities have been staffed by a mix of full-time and on-call paramedics. The 10 new paramedic positions will expand the number of paramedics in the region and provide a more stable staffing model for this area of the province.
An additional ambulance is also being added in Williams Lake, to help with hospital patient transfers. Many patients in the area are currently transported to health centres in Kamloops and Kelowna. The new ambulance will ensure existing ambulances and paramedics remain available to respond to 9-1-1 medical emergency calls
Williams Lake and 100 Mile House are among communities identified as top priorities in the ongoing review under the BCEHS Action Plan. Additional paramedics and ambulances were also recently added in Vancouver and Nanaimo. Other communities are also under review by BCEHS, and any changes will be announced once they become finalized.
The addition of four full-time paramedic positions in Williams Lake, and six full-time positions in 100 Mile House will mean both stations will have a total of eight in each community. Both communities are also served by numerous part time on-call paramedics.
The new paramedic positions will be awarded based on the hiring standards in the CUPE 873 Collective Agreement with BCEHS.
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health –
"With increasing demands on the ambulance service in the central interior, these investments will help make sure paramedics are there when and where people need them. We are committed to improving access to health care, especially for smaller communities where people may need to be transferred to other hospitals because they require a higher level of care."
Linda Lupini, BCEHS/PHSA Executive Vice President –
"BCEHS is focussing its efforts on areas of the province where enhanced paramedic services are needed the most. Paramedic services are increasingly needed, as part of an integrated health care system in BC."
Walt Cobb, Williams Lake Mayor –
"The City of Williams Lake is extremely pleased to learn about the increase in paramedic positions for our area. This service is absolutely critical to the health and well-being of our residents, and we are pleased that this investment is being made. The addition of an ambulance to help with inter-facility transfers will help to relieve some of the stress on our current system, and allow existing ambulances to focus on crucial emergency response."
Cameron Eby, CUPE 873 President –
"The Ambulance Paramedics of BC – CUPE Local 873 is pleased to see additional paramedic positions and resources being added to the Williams Lake and 100 Mile House area. The announcement brings good news for our hardworking members - the pre-hospital medical experts - and supports us in providing definitive patient care."
BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) is responsible for the delivery and governance of pre-hospital emergency medical care and inter-facility patient transfer services through the BC Ambulance Service and the BC Patient Transfer Network. BCEHS is supported by the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). For more information, please visit www.bcehs.ca or follow us on Twitter @BC_EHS.
The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) plans, manages and evaluates selected specialty and province-wide health care services across BC, working with the five geographic health authorities to deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit www.phsa.ca or follow us on Twitter @PHSAofBC.
For more information or to arrange an interview contact:
BCEHS/PHSA Media Line: 778.867.7472
BC Ministry of Health Communications Media Line: 250.952.1887