After paramedics protested in front of Confederation Building Tuesday, the issue of “red alerts” within the ambulance system came up inside the House of Assembly later in the day.
© — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Paramedics protest Tuesday at Confederation Building.
Liberal Leader Dwight Ball asked the government what's being done to reduce the amount of time when there are no ambulances available to respond to an emergency call.
Health Minister Susan Sullivan told the legislature that she takes the situation seriously.
“Mr. Speaker, we always take the concerns of anyone who is involved in health care very, very seriously. That is especially true for ambulance operators as a result of the provincial ambulance review that had been done,” she said. “Throughout the process of that review we certainly learned of many deficiencies within our current ambulance program. We did consultations after the review was submitted to us in October, and we met with stakeholders to ensure they were happy with the recommendations that were coming forward. The result of that consultation was actually very positive.”
Sullivan did not give any information about acting on the recommendations.
Liberal MHA Andrew Parsons wanted to know about the situation outside St. John's.
“This morning’s protest was about red alerts in Eastern Health, but no one is talking about the red alerts in the rural parts of the province,” Parsons said. “If government’s proposed new model goes through for private and community operators this will increase two- and three-hour red alerts that already exist to even longer times.”
Sullivan said a large part of the problem in rural areas is routine hospital transfers using ambulance services.
“Many times, Mr. Speaker, we have people being transferred as a result of needing dialysis. They are sitting up in the front seat of the ambulance, Mr. Speaker, to come for a dialysis treatment in certain areas,” she said. “What we are examining now is how we can better use ambulances throughout the province.”