Airdrie still paying more for worse service
It is virtually the same system in more expensive packaging.
We commend City council for continuing its support for the medical co-response program for six additional months (see story on pages 1 and 2). There is no question, having trained firefighters provide first-on-scene medical services on life-threatening calls is saving lives.
There is also no doubt that waiting 13 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, like the fire department has recorded in three incidences since March, is unacceptable.
From July 2010, when operations of the ambulance were transfered to the Province from Airdrie’s integrated service, until March 2011, response times increased by about 34 per cent, despite a 12 per cent decrease in call volume. This is ridiculous, however, Alberta Health Services continues to emphasize that all aspects of co-response programs remain the decision and financial responsibility of municipalities. All cities and the majority of municipalities in the province of Alberta provide medical co-response. In Airdrie’s case, we have to because the separate system just doesn’t work. Changing from a fully-integrated service to a medical co-response cost Airdrie taxpayers at least $28,000 in 2011 and was estimated to cost $47,100 in 2012 and $29,100 in 2013 for Alberta College of Paramedics registration, training, equipment and medications. Top this off with the fact that the medical co-response we are paying for is not as effective as Airdrie’s previous integrated model. Why are we tasked with paying to fix a system that the Province broke?