Posted on Jun 4, 2019

UCP Budget chaos causes red alerts for Calgary EMS

EDMONTON – Jason Kenney and the UCP must stop with the budget chaos and fill vacant positions in Calgary emergency services to ensure ambulances are on the street, said the Alberta NDP Opposition.

The Alberta NDP Opposition is releasing minutes from a meeting of the Calgary Zone Employee and Management Advisory Committee that show Alberta Health Services—expecting the worst in the UCP budget—has left 40 to 60 full-time paramedic positions unfilled while cutting back on overtime.

“I’ve been told by frontline paramedics that this has led to several red alerts where there are no free ambulances in a system already at its limit,” said Alberta NDP Opposition Health Critic David Shepherd.

“Paramedics are deeply worried about how they’re going to meet the public need for emergency care as these documents appear to show AHS is willing to wait for UCP budget cuts rather than fill staff..”

The meeting minutes show concerns about “staffing shortfalls in the Calgary Zone” with “possibly 40 to 60 FTE positions are currently unfilled”. The minutes also note the “(b)udget situation uncertain with election of new government, required to use previous budget to guide business decisions until clarity is found.”

“Paramedics have told me that this means the UCP have essentially created a reluctance for the use of overtime and AHS is shutting down anywhere up to five ambulances a day,” said Shepherd. “I am calling on the Minister of Health to step up, do his job, and make sure these positions are filled today. There is no excuse. Albertans deserve to know that emergency care is there for their families when they need it.”

The meeting minutes are the latest in a series of issues caused by the UCP’s lack of communication on their budget priorities. Albertans continue to come forward to the Alberta NDP Opposition to highlight funding problems as the government only provinces messaging and spin in response to concerns.