911 call answered

By Geoff Lee

March 8, 2016 9:23 AM

Bill Till a director of Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society gives two thumbs up to his group's lobbying efforts to bring advanced life support EMS to Lloydminster residents.

Advanced life support system now in Lloydminster

Lloydminster seniors are celebrating today after their winning fight to provide local and area residents with advanced life support (ALS) when calling 911 Emergency Medical Services.
Alberta Health Services and Prairie North Regional Health Authority announced Friday ALS support care will be delivered through WPD Ambulance-Lloydminster.
One of the three WPD ambulances will provide ALS in the Border City to ensure a broader range of cardiac interventions, breathing supports and medicines are available in emergency situations.
The announcement was exactly what Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society has been lobbying bi-provincial officials for, especially during the past year as highlighted in several Source stories about the issue.
“We’d like to think we made a difference,” said Bill Till, a director of the seniors group.
“I think it would have happened eventually, but we certainly accelerated the process.
He said local seniors have made some pretty vigorous representations to both Alberta Health Services and also directly to health ministers.
“We brought it to the attention of everybody we could think of.”
Till credits the work of Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke and Lloydminster MLA Colleen Young for getting both provinces to act on the seniors’ recommendations.
Alberta was the first to sign an ALS contract with WPD effective Feb. 19, followed by PNRHA on March 4.
“I don’t know how Saskatchewan operates, but with Alberta it just takes a revision of the contract to do that,” said Alberta Health Services spokesperson Francis Silvaggio.
WPD Ambulance is a privately owned and operated ambulance service contracted by both Alberta Health Services and Prairie North Regional Health Authority in Saskatchewan to provide EMS care in the city and surrounding areas.
“We’re committed to ensuring residents of Lloydminster and area have access to high-quality ambulance care,” says AHS EMS chief paramedic Darren Sandbeck.
“In cooperation with our Saskatchewan health partners, PNRHA, we have determined the addition of advanced life support care is needed to better support the community.”
Till said he took on the ALS issue almost as a personal campaign as a director of the senior’s care society.
“For quite some time we didn’t realize there was no advanced life support available in Lloydminster,” he said.
Till note that probably a great percentage of the population of Lloydminster thought it was available knowing is was available from the beginning of the contract in North Battleford.
“That was the way we always phrased it,” said Till about the lobby message.
“We didn’t want anything extra – we just wanted the same level of service they were getting in North Battleford out of the other regional hospital.”
PNRHA CEO David Fan agrees a city the size, scope and location of Lloydminster, with its diverse population and health care needs, clearly requires enhanced EMS.
“We know this much-anticipated move to advanced life support ambulance care will be well received by Lloydminster and area patients,” said Fan.
“This is one example of our bi-provincial planning with key stakeholders from both Alberta and Saskatchewan agreeing that advanced life support is needed for Lloydminster and ensuring the service is available to its citizens.”
Lloydminster ambulance services are monitored by a Joint Oversight Committee comprised of operational staff of AHS and PNRHA.
This committee meets regularly with WPD in Lloydminster to review ambulance service parameters.
Sandbeck says AHS is constantly reviewing EMS operations to better understand and support the specific needs of communities across Alberta.
With the ALS issue resolved, the seniors care society will continue to pressure PNRHA to retain and repurpose the old wings of the Dr. Cooke Extended Care Centre.
Till said seniors want it to be used for a variety of things, very economically, to provide a needed service for transitional beds, palliative care beds and various seniors programs.
“The building’s there and it’s going to take some upgrading of course, but it can be done much more economically than starting with a new facility,” he said.
“In today’s economic climate that’s probably not feasible at all.”

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