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.


Just Posted

Rossland Public Library receives over $80,000 toward renewal project

The library has received a second grant worth over $80,000 towards its renewal project.

Rossland Council approves rezoning for two new developments at Red

Rossland City Council approved two bylaws regarding new developments out at Red Mountain.

Rossland Citizen Budget results are in

The results from Citizen Budget were released to the public at the end of last month.

Quiet start to 2018 for South Columbia Search and Rescue

South Columbia members are focusing on updating training

Updated: Kootenay communities benefit from gas tax dollars

The project is one of 112 approved in B.C. communities this year

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

LETTERS: Two views of oil pipeline protests

U.S. and other petroleum-rich countries aren’t cutting production

Canadian Paralympic team picked up record 28 medals

The 55 athletes strong had set a cautious goal of 17 medals for PyeongChang

Most Read