LETTER: BC Ambulance call response process needs clarification

To date, NFR has not approached BCAS to discuss concerns or specific calls. We take any concerns with patient care very seriously.

Re: Nelson Fire Rescue wants to assist first responders (Nelson Star March 19).

A recent article and editorial published in this paper contain several inaccuracies regarding changes to BC Ambulance Service’s (BCAS) call response process that I would like to correct in order to provide a balanced perspective.

The article states that Nelson Fire Rescue (NFR) has experienced a recent reduction in the number of emergencies firefighters have been notified of, and therefore responded to, as a result of BCAS changes. I want to clarify that the only change BCAS has implemented is how ambulances drive to some calls and what type of ambulances are dispatched. What has not changed is the role first responders play in providing pre-hospital care or the notification of first responders for medical calls. I would also like to assure your readers that an ambulance will continue to respond to emergencies each and every time one is requested.

To date, NFR has not approached BCAS to discuss general concerns or specific calls. We take any concerns with the provision of patient care very seriously and we will be contacting NFR to investigate these instances further.

The provincial government’s innovation and change plan for the health care sector is about meeting patient needs appropriately, while ensuring value for money.

As the agency responsible for pre-hospital care, it’s our mandate to ensure that patients receive timely and safe care, but also that we are using resources efficiently. It’s important that each agency strive for high quality patient care and appropriate resource stewardship.

In 2013, BC Emergency Health Service (BCEHS) undertook a review of the BCAS Resource Allocation Plan (RAP). BCAS dispatchers use the RAP to determine how many and the type of ambulances that respond to a 911 call, whether lights-and-sirens should be used and if first responders should be notified.

A RAP Review Committee, comprised of physicians, paramedics, dispatchers and first responders, reviewed over 600,000 911 calls and determined the appropriate medical response required for 868 different patient conditions.

The committee found that ambulances were responding with lights and sirens too often for calls that were routine and that first responders were not medically required for many types of routine calls. BCEHS is currently consulting with local governments to provide further information on the RAP review process and to better understand the role that municipalities want in providing pre-hospital care.

Dr. William Dick

Vice President of Medical Programs

BCEHS

Just Posted

10 RDCK incumbents seek re-election

Most rural directors want another term

Slocan Valley added to communities on flooding evac alert

Kootenay Lake is expected to reach flooding level in Nelson by Friday

Police searching for Nelson man

Brent Mickelson hasn’t been heard from since February

UPDATED: Hwy 3 west of Creston remains closed due to mudslide

A detour is available on the Kootenay Lake Ferry, but commuters could see wait times

Local police recognized for work

Eight officers were honoured for removing impaired drivers

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Most Read