Centralization of Ambulance Dispatch Services in Calgary Will Add Further Stress to Emergency System

"When you are in a life-and-death situation seconds do count," says Friends of Medicare
The plan to continue the centralization of Ambulance Dispatch System in Calgary continues full steam ahead despite the wishes of Albertans, says Friends of Medicare.
"Unfortunately, listening to Albertans has not been a priority for those making policy decisions regarding the delivery of health care," says Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare.
"We have a mayor who has publicly rejected the centralized ambulance dispatch system and public-safety communications experts who have asked the previous Minister of Health, Fred Horne, to halt the centralization, and yet it is still moving ahead in Calgary next year. We most definitely have a 'listening' problem," adds Azocar.
If the centralization plans go through, the 911 calls for ambulance would go to the newly planned City of Calgary Centre, which would then send the call to the AHS Dispatch. The nearest ambulance, regardless of municipal boundaries, would then respond.
"This would ultimately result in wasting precious seconds as the ambulance is dispatched. It has been noted by frontline workers and practitioners that we are already seeing ambulance resources being taken away from rural areas to assist in the bigger urban centres such as Calgary, making it harder to respond to rural in a timely manner," says Azocar. 
"It's time to halt the centralized dispatch project and develop a plan that works for and with Alberta municipalities. It's time to truly listen to local leaders, frontline professionals and Albertans before going ahead with yet another centralization scheme," she says.