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.
Until now the two communities in northeastern BC have been staffed by a mix of full-time and on-call paramedics. The eight new paramedic positions will expand the number of paramedics in the region and provide a more stable staffing model for this area.
The two new ambulances will help support scheduled hospital transfers and make sure resources are available to respond to medical 9-1-1 emergencies.
The additional ambulances will also support the nearby communities of Chetwynd, Tumbler Ridge, and Hudson's Hope. The extra resources and an enhanced staffing model will help keep an available ambulance in each of these communities.
Fort St. John and Dawson Creek are among communities identified as top priorities in the ongoing review under the BCEHS Action Plan. Additional paramedics and ambulances were recently added in Vancouver and Nanaimo. Other communities are also under review by BCEHS, and any changes will be announced when finalized.
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 –
"This investment will help improve access to care for people living in the Peace River region. These additional ambulances and full time positions will help strengthen health-care services the community counts on, and make sure paramedics are there when people need them."
Linda Lupini, Executive Vice President of BCEHS –
"We know paramedic services are an essential part of an integrated healthcare system. These additional full-time positions and ambulances will enhance those services.
Lori Ackerman, Mayor Fort St John –
"We are very pleased to see additional ambulance and staff resources allocated in Fort St John and are looking forward to improved service and response times. This is a step in the right direction, and we will continue to work with the Province to address the needed services across the northeast."
Cameron Eby, President CUPE 873 –
"The Ambulance Paramedics of BC – CUPE Local 873 is pleased to see additional paramedic positions and resources being added to the Peace River region. 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: 250.952.1887