Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has credited her government’s healthcare priorities for drastically reducing EMS response times.
According to data by the Alberta Health Services, the average response time in some areas has been halved.
In April, the average time for ambulances to get to emergency calls in urban areas was 12 minutes, a big drop from 22 minutes in November. As for rural communities, emergency respondents have been able to respond in nearly 40 minutes instead of the 64 minute average reported last year.
The UCP had also addressed the problem of paramedics waiting in emergency rooms while patients are being assessed. In April, this time was reduced by two-thirds over the same time period.
“We put changes in place that are already making a difference on the front line,” said Smith.
“Just ask any paramedic how different it is today when they no longer effectively have red alerts, versus what it was four or five months ago when they were sitting at our emergency rooms, 15 to 20 ambulances deep.”
Earlier this year Smith appointed Dr. John Cowell as the AHS official administrator, specifically asking him to deal with the problem of emergency response times.
Last month, Smith announced a plan to hire 3,600 more healthcare workers over the next four years, as part of her government’s commitment to improve health care services for Albertans.
Alberta has already seen an increase of 2,500 new doctors and nurses under the UCP government’s watch.
The UCP has touted it’s “record-high health budget” totaling nearly $1 billion towards healthcare operating expenses in 2023.
Part of the funding will go towards opening up 200 spots in medical school at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. Additionally, the UCP government is working on opening up 1,800 for nurses and other aide staff over the next three years.
While facing attacks from the NDP, Smith has claimed that the opposition is misrepresenting her position on healthcare. Last week, a group of protesters stormed Smith’s press conference falsely claiming that Smith wants to privatize Alberta’s healthcare.
“I think activists like we just saw here and the NDP keep trying to confuse the issue,” said Smith.
“We will contract out surgeries where it makes sense and we will not privatize the hospitals that are under the umbrella of Alberta Health Services.”
Last month, the UCP attacked Rachel Notley’s “extreme activist” NDPs for saying they want to defund the police and give out free heroin to drug addicts.