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Statement from the Mayor

Mayors met earlier today with Minister of Health to discuss EMS Dispatch Consolidation

September 24, 2020 2:28 PM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

Since the announcement from Alberta Health Services regarding plans to consolidate EMS Dispatch Services, the Mayors of municipalities affected have been working together to stop these changes. Earlier today, the Mayors and Fire Chiefs of the municipalities met with the Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro, and Minister of Municipal Affairs, Tracy Allard to express their opposition towards the consolidation.

Quotes

“Today’s meeting with the Minister of Health demonstrated that the Minister is willing to seek out additional information from municipalities to understand the impact consolidation will have on local patients. Until the Minister formally reverses this decision and commits to keeping EMS dispatch local, we will continue to ask our community to put pressure on the government. We know that Alberta Health Services’ proposal to remove local EMS dispatch from Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and Wood Buffalo and consolidate down to three provincial communication centres, will not result in cost savings, and even more concerning, puts Albertans lives at risk, in moments where seconds count.” – Mayor Tara Veer, The City of Red Deer

“When it comes to emergency services, the goal of our municipalities—and I believe the Province of Alberta—is to provide excellent patient outcomes using the most efficient system possible. Today we delivered evidence to the Ministers that makes it very clear that these goals are being met with our current system and removing integrated EMS dispatch will threaten the safety and wellbeing of Albertans. My hope is that they now understand the consequences of this decision and the Ministers will come to the same conclusion as those before them—it does not make sense to remove EMS dispatch from our communities.” – Mayor Chris Spearman, The City of Lethbridge

“After today's meeting with the Ministers I remain greatly concerned, but I believe the information we shared is one step forward in this very important process. This consolidation is not about improving patient outcomes. This is the very same consolidation that was proposed over 10 years ago. We fought it then and won because the province recognized the negative impact it would have. Our provincial officials once again need to recognize that and reverse this decision.” – Mayor Don Scott, The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

“Today’s meeting was a good opportunity for us to detail to Minister Shandro why we believe that 911 dispatch should be operated at a municipal level. The local knowledge and integration with fire services, who are first on the scene to deliver life-saving care in 50% of cases, cannot be overlooked if safety outcomes are the number one priority. It is now up to the Minister to make his determination with the facts in front of him.” –  Mayor Naheed Nenshi, The City of Calgary

Four leaders posing for picture

Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi
Mayor of Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Don Scott Mayor of Lethbridge, Chris Spearman
Mayor of Red Deer, Tara Veer

Four men standing on the stairs

City of Lethbridge Fire Chief, Marc Rathwell
City of Red Deer Emergency Services Manager, Ken McMullen
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Fire Chief, Jody Butz
City of Calgary Director of Community Standards, Richard Hinse

For more information, please contact:

Communications & Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer

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