During a Friday morning press conference, the NDP presented data from a Freedom of Information request (FOIP) that they submitted to Alberta Health Services.
According to documents obtained by the Alberta NDP, ambulances in Airdrie, Chestermere, Cochrane, and Strathmore have been dispatched to Calgary more than 30,000 times in the last three years.
“If an Albertan is in distress of course the nearest available ambulance should respond immediately regardless of where that Albertan lives,” said Alberta NDP Municipal Affairs Critic Joe Ceci. “But the longer a community, such as Airdrie, is called on to divert its ambulances to other communities the greater risk there is that an ambulance will not be able to arrive in its own community when needed.”
The NDP is calling on the UCP government to address the skyrocketing increase in the number of ambulances being pulled into Calgary from the surrounding communities of Airdrie, Cochrane, Chestermere, and Strathmore.
According to the information from the FOIP request, Airdrie ambulances responded in Calgary 2,772 times in 2019-20, but that number nearly tripled to 7,358 times in 2021-22. Cochrane ambulances responded in Calgary 1,007 times in 2019/20, increasing to 3,728 times in 2021/22.
“The trends we are seeing are distressing and must be a call for action. We do not need more reports and we do not need more committees. Albertans need this UCP government to listen to paramedics on the front lines and act,” said Ceci.
Furthermore, the NDP are saying they support paramedics calling for paramedics must get off shift on time, that all paramedics must be offered permanent full-time jobs instead of being forced into 89-day casual contracts with no benefits and no job security, as well as calling on the current government to provide more harm reduction services to ease the strain on ambulances.
Ceci noted that Airdrie MLAs Angela Pitt and Peter Guthrie have not spoken about EMS service in their communities but are instead campaigning for UCP leadership candidates.
However, this week MLA for Airdrie-East, Angela Pitt announced via social media that she will no longer be the Chair of The Rajan Sawhney Campaign and that she would be refocusing her efforts to serve her constituents.
"Issues like Airdrie’s inadequate urgent care facility and the EMS crisis must be resolved and I am working hard to do that," Pitt wrote on her official Facebook page.
Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org