BCAS Responds RE: Ambulance Coverage

BCAS responds to concerns about ambulance coverage in the Peace District


June 21, 2012 at 8:41 AM

BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) would like to express condolences to the family that lost a loved one on June 8 in Hudson’s Hope. We take all concerns with our service seriously and are currently reviewing this call to determine how we can improve the care we provide to patients. BCAS has made improvements to our service based on the outcomes of previous reviews.

BCAS has completed a preliminary review and determined the following facts regarding the June 8th incident:
- When BCAS received the call to respond to Hudson’s Hope, the closest available ambulance, which was in Chetwynd, was assigned and was enroute within minutes.
- BCAS dispatchers also contacted local first responders, who attended the call, provided CPR and brought an AED to the scene.
- BCAS also contacted a local off-duty paramedic who was on scene within 27 minutes, only two minutes longer than the average ambulance response time for Hudson’s Hope, and took over care of the patient.
- The ambulance from Chetwynd was on scene in 51 minutes.

BCAS acknowledges that due to staffing challenges, the on-call ambulance in Hudson’s Hope was not available on June 8th. When staffing shortages are identified, BCAS attempts to fill vacant shifts and strategically places ambulances throughout a geographic area to maximize the available resources which was the case in the Peace district during this time.

In addition to these regular measures, BCAS is taking the following action to address the coverage and service in Hudson Hope:
- Increase the number of paramedics available over the weekend. BCAS is bringing in two staff from Prince George to work in Tumbler Ridge and one staff member in from Vancouver to provide additional coverage in the Fort St. John-Dawson Creek areas.
- BCAS is conducting a review of the care provided to the patient which will examine decisions made and the timeline of the call. The findings could result in a change that may enhance future patient care and safety.
- Work with local government and health care authorities and the industrial sector to determine strategies to improve recruitment and retention of paramedics in the Peace district.

BCAS’s human resources and operations supervisors are recruiting staff through partnerships, advertising, career fairs and other methods specific to each community. BCAS has a total of thirty-one applications currently in process across northern BC. Six of these applications are for the Peace District; the applicants have expressed interest in working in Tumbler Ridge, Dawson Creek and Hudson’s Hope. Every effort is being made to assist applicants through the hiring process in a timely manner.

BCAS operates under the authority of the Emergency and Health Services Commission (EHSC) and provides public ambulance service throughout British Columbia. The EHSC has the legislated mandate under the Emergency and Health Services Act to provide B.C. residents and healthcare professionals with access to pre-hospital emergency and patient transfer services. The EHSC also oversees BC Bedline and Trauma Services BC. The EHSC is a division of the Provincial Health Services Authority which manages high-quality specialized health care services across British Columbia.


Category: Public