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Four northern BC ambulance stations moving to full-time status

Twenty-two rural ambulance stations across BC including four in the north will soon provide full-time service, 24-hours a day.

This includes Burns Lake, Houston, Fort Saint James, and Vanderhoof.

This is part of a recent announcement to bolster ambulance service in the province to ensure faster response times.

Troy Clifford with the Ambulance Paramedics of BC spoke with Vista Radio.

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“Those will definitely be an improvement to those communities, which has been well needed so that they can meet the needs and capacity of those response times. They may not have the call volumes in some of those smaller communities but they have the needs and demand so that’s what we have been really lobbying for.”

The service change is expected to occur this fall.

In addition, the province is providing funding to hire 85 new full-time paramedics, 30 full-time dispatchers, and 22 additional ambulances.

Clifford stated there has been no confirmation as of yet if any of the new hires will find their way to the north.

“The majority of them will be placed in the Fraser Valley and the Metro (Vancouver) area but the health minister (Adrian Dix) also mentioned some of them will be placed in urban centres like Kelowna and Kamloops. But, one of our larger centres is Prince George so we are trying to seek a little more clarification on what that means. We have seen resource shortages in Prince George and the city recently converted an on-call model and added another day car.”

“Some resources have been added but it’s clearly not enough for the growth we have seen.”

To get paramedics and ambulances back on the road to respond to patient calls more quickly, the Province is directing health authorities to add additional staff to receive patients and care for them when they arrive at emergency departments.

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