BC’s Health Ministry has announced an extra 91 million dollars in funding over the next three years for more ambulances and paramedics.
Health Minister Terry Lake says it will mean faster ambulance response times.
BC Emergency Health Services will add six additional ambulances in the Lower Mainland, along with additional resources in the Interior, with locations still to be finalized.
An additional 80 staff will be added over the next year, including 60 paramedics and 20 dispatch staff, as well as additional supervisory positions to support front-line paramedics.
“Work is also underway to evaluate the addition of some single-paramedic SUVs, which are proving effective at supporting ambulance response during the current opioid overdose crisis,” says Lake.
The minister says the province will also provide 4 million dollars in immediate funding for new equipment, including carbon monoxide monitors, stretchers, safety kits and visibility gear.
“British Columbians in emergencies rely on the skills provided by paramedics, dispatchers and other staff with BC Emergency Health Services,” says Lake. “Today’s funding supports their front-line efforts, increasing capacity in both urban and rural areas through a combination of innovations and new resources that allows us to develop a more comprehensive approach to enhancing emergency care throughout B.C.”
BCEHS will implement a strategy focused in three areas, including improving emergency response in both rural and urban regions, with additional ambulances, paramedics and dispatchers, supporting new initiatives to enhance rural and remote services to create better access to primary and community-based care, and introducing province wide innovations and improvements to support how BCEHS responds to calls.