More ambulances and paramedics coming to Metro Vancouver

Dec 19 2017, 8:02 pm

The Lower Mainland’s emergency services are receiving a major boost in an effort to reduce dispatch and mobilization response times.

A new action plan released today by B.C. Emergency Health Services indicates eight additional ambulances and 34 paramedics will be added to the workforce in the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions.

“We face increased demand from an aging population and growing rates of complex chronic disease,” reads a statement by B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake.

Currently, there are 86 ambulance vehicles and 510 full-time staff in the Lower Mainland, including 21 ambulances and 148 full-time staff within the city of Vancouver.

“To reduce the pressures these put on emergency and hospital services, we are focusing on patients more proactively – with prevention, health management and better primary care in a patient’s community. A strong and responsive ambulance system is still critical.”

As well, health officials are working on strategies on how to respond to minor health issue calls and improve turn-around times from hospitals and patient-transfer times. Currently, paramedics often spend more than 30 minutes in Emergency Rooms waiting to hand over low-risk patients.

“We must continue to modernize our pre-hospital emergency services and integrate them better with other parts of the health system, to create a more patient-centred, sustainable ambulance service for the province,” Lake continued.