Maintaining ambulance service in small communities has been a struggle.

B.C. to add rural ambulance resources

Health Minister Terry Lake says 80 paramedics to share duties with care homes, home care to service small communities

WHISTLER – The B.C. health ministry is aiming to add up to 80 rural ambulance paramedic positions in small communities by combining their duties with local care facilities.

Health Minister Terry Lake said the approach to maintain rural ambulance service has been tried for several years, but was hampered by restrictions in the paramedics’ union contract. New contract terms have been worked out with the B.C. Ambulance Service and the ministry is working with other health care representatives to develop what he calls “community para-medicine.”

“There are good examples of this in Ontario and other jurisdictions where there are too few calls to have a full-time paramedic,” Lake said in an interview at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler this week.

“When that full-time paramedic is not on a call, they can be doing things like helping with services in long-term residential care homes,” Lake said. “They can be going into homes of people who are on home health support, and checking in with the patients – these are often elderly people who have difficulty getting around – and make sure they’re adhering to their treatment plan, that their needs are being met, and if necessary make a recommendation that they should have an in-patient visit at the hospital or with a health care provider.”

Lake described the program at a UBCM forum on rural health care, where he discussed the problems of rural and remote health care with local government representatives. He said his goal is to add 80 positions over the next 18 months, working with local doctors, nurses and residential care providers.

The ambulance service has struggled to maintain rural and remote service with a system of on-call paramedics paid a minimal stand-by rate, and in some cases maintain full-time ambulance staffing in smaller communities.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 outbreak at Oliver farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Summerland begins reopening aquatic centre

First phase of reopening planned for Sept. 8

Morning Start: The Exorcist film set was haunted

Your morning start for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

Former Summerlander receives Emmy nomination for makeup work

Lucky Bromhead recognized for her work with Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek

Morning Start: High heels were first designed for men

Your morning start for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

COVID-19 exposure alert at Cactus Club in downtown Kelowna

Interior Health also announced another three cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna, bringing the total to 161

Most Read