Inter-facility patient transfers make up approximately 30% of all BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) transports in British Columbia. All patient transfers requiring an ambulance and paramedic resources are managed through BCAS’s Communications/Dispatch Centres, who assign ground ambulances to pre-booked requests from health care facilities.
BCAS has a number of dedicated ground ambulance transfer vehicles available for patient transfers, but also utilises emergency fleet ambulances, in between 9-1-1 calls, to transfer patients between health care facilities.
In addition to the patient transfers undertaken by Primary Care Paramedics, BCAS also provides Critical Care services where paramedics provide highly-specialized care and long-distance transport between health-care facilities for critically ill or injured patients. This work is undertaken by both specialist ground CCT ambulances and by dedicated CCT Air Ambulance resources. A specialized Infant Transport Team (ITT)
provides a similar critical care transport service to B.C. pediatric, neo-natal and high-risk obstetrics patients. The Patient Transfer Coordination Centre (PTCC), based in Vancouver, is responsible for coordinating all air and ground Critical Care Transport and non-critical air transports.
A number of private patient transfer operators also provide non-medical patient transfers under contract with health authorities. These non-medical transfers are restricted to stable patients who do not require an ambulance resource and the skills of a paramedic team during transfers. This includes patients being discharged from hospital who are unable to use conventional means of transportation, those requiring specialized diagnostic and treatment facilities and patients being discharged to chronic care facilities.