AHS responds to statistics provided by NDP – DiscoverAirdrie.com

In response to statistics presented at a press conference late last week by the Alberta NDP, which showed that Airdrie ambulances visited Calgary 7,358 times in 2021-22, the services of Alberta Health released a statement.

“AHS is working hard to ensure ambulances are available in all communities when needed. A new initiative launched in February has succeeded in reducing the number of suburban interventions in Calgary by approximately 50% in the Calgary area,” wrote James Wood. , director of issues management and media relations at Alberta Health Services.

AHS has repeatedly stated that EMS continues to manage a sustained increase in 911 calls, in some cases the increase is 30% above pre-pandemic levels.

“All types of calls have increased. In Calgary and Edmonton, call volumes are at record highs, and staff illness and fatigue continue to have an impact.”

AHS Data Quarterly Emergency Medical Services Dashboard, shows that in April, May and June 2020 (Q2), there were approximately 77,000 emergency events in the province. Alberta recorded its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020, which would have been the first quarter, which is not represented in current data. However, the first quarter of 2022, which includes January, February and March, does not show a significant increase from 2020, with approximately 82,000 emergency events across the province.

Statistics from the Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Services who requested Airdrie’s discovery under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (2022-G-219) indeed show that Airdrie Ambulances have halved the number of times they responded to Calgary between January and February 2022. However, when looking at the total call volume for the month of February, Airdrie EMS still has in average nearly 49% of its total calls to Calgary.

911 Events in the City of Airdrie (Operational Responses by Month and Unit Station) / Event Location: Airdrie / Event Stream: 911 (FOIP: 2022-G-219)
911 Events in the City of Airdrie (Operational Responses by Month and Unit Station) / Event Location: Airdrie / Event Stream: 911 (FOIP: 2022-G-219)

Wood wrote that elements of the Metro Response Plan began rolling out on February 7, 2022.

“Since then, significant and noticeable improvements have been made in keeping commuter ambulances in their home communities. The Metro Response Plan is one element of EMS’ 10-point plan to help create capacity in the health system.”

And while Airdrie EMS didn’t respond as frequently in Calgary in the first two months of 2022, there was a 7% increase in 9-1-1 calls in other areas between January and February. . The decrease in the number of Airdrie ambulances responding in Calgary slowed later in 2022. From February to March, there was a 33% decrease, while from March to April, a increase of Airdrie ambulances going to Calgary, about 34%.

Data presented by the NDP showed that between April 1, 2022 and July 15, 2022, Airdrie Ambulance responded to emergency events in Calgary 830 times, while inter-facility transfers were responded to 105 times. . Events categorized as “other” received 55 responses.

Wood also listed EMS response times, writing that while response times have increased and are above AHS EMS targets.

“EMS continues to work hard to reach people in need as quickly as possible. In Airdrie in June, EMS responded to critical calls in approximately eight minutes, 47 seconds median (50% of calls) and 17 minutes, 30 seconds at the 90th percentile, compared to our targets of eight minutes (median) and 12 minutes.”

However, according to the AHS Quarterly Emergency Medical Services Dashboardresponse time is calculated based on events considered life-threatening at the time of the 911 call and includes Delta and Echo events, which means the median and 90th percentile response times for Airdrie EMS do not include Alpha, Bravo or Charlie events.

According to AHS data which is accessible to the public, the 90th percentile response time in June 2022 is only slightly lower than the 90th percentile time in January 2022, before the implementation of the subway response plan. When comparing the 90th percentile response time between February 2022 and June 2022, there is an increase.

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Wood said EMS has heard feedback from local communities regarding ambulances in their areas and has added new ambulances in Calgary and Edmonton to help ease the strain on the system and reduce the need to rely on ambulances from others. communities, with ten new ambulances. , five each in Calgary and Edmonton, are already in service, and ten more will enter service in September.

However, even with the additional resources currently in Calgary, a recent tweet from the Calgary Police Department on August 14 illustrates that the EMS shortage is impacting not only residents, but other first responder agencies as well.

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In response to the NDP calling for paramedics to quit their full-time shifts and be offered permanent full-time jobs, Wood wrote that EMS has been in a steady hiring cycle and continues to have a strong pool. of candidates.

“EMS hired 202 new employees from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022, including 167 paramedics. In 2020, AHS hired 236 paramedics and hired 340 paramedics in 2021. EMS positions can be full-time, part-time or casual, which can help meet operational requirements, collective agreement provisions, and staff preferences It is common for AHS to post a combination of permanent and temporary positions to meet operational requirements, which are also affected by our response to COVID-19, and respect the provisions of the collective agreement.”

Although there have been hundreds of additional staff hired and new ambulances in the Calgary area, according to FOIP data (2022-G-236) obtained by an Airdrie resident, Airdrie ambulances have been closed 124 times in 2022 (data requested was through June 2022), while in 2021 there were 86 closures. In 2020, there were 55 closures. Since 2020, Airdrie has seen a 44% increase in the closure of its ambulances. The data does not specify the reason for the stopping of a truck.

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