More paramedics still needed seniors' group told at AGM

By Geoff Lee

June 14, 2016 7:54 AM

Dr. Raff Sayeed, asks a question during the Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care AGM Wednesday. Sayeed was feted at the AGM as one of the founding members of the seniors' group 11 years ago.

Advanced life support (ALS) paramedic service in Lloydminster continues to be a 911 priority issue for Lloydminster seniors following their annual general meeting.
Graham Brown, chair of Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care, told the AGM Wednesday a second ALS paramedic is still needed along with the signing of the contract.
Alberta Health Services directed ambulance provider WPD Ambulance to start delivering ALS on the Alberta side of the city on Feb. 19 with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health issuing a similar directive on the Saskatchewan side on Mar. 4
The contract also called for each ambulance to be staffed with at least one ALS paramedic according to a letter Brown received on April 14 from Alberta health minister Sarah Hoffman.
“I guess the one thing we still haven’t been able to solve is the ambulance—as much as we now have paramedics, we only have one advance life support,” said Brown and no signed contract.
Brown thinks the hold up with the signing is with Prairie North Health Region wanting to do two separate contracts and WPD wanting to do one contract.
“Once we get Prairie North looking at ‘let’s do one contract’ it would break the stalemate I think,” said Brown.
No one from Prairie North was available to respond to the contract status by our deadline.
Brown said both governments have ordered the ALS service into operation and one paramedic is in place, but one more is needed in the city.
“We have one ambulance with one ALS paramedic on duty at all times, which does not allow us to do transfers,” said Brown.
He said Lloydminster requires two paramedics on duty at all time so they can do patient transfers when they need to and still have a paramedic in town.
“We need to have two; we need to get a contract signed—we’ve been trying to get that done for over a year,” he said.
Brown said Lloydminster needs the same kind of level of service that they have in North Battleford.
“They have four cars, two paramedics on duty at all times and we are a bigger community,” he said.
On another issue, Brown told seniors at the AGM a lot of progress is being made to re-purpose the 40 beds in south and central wings of the Dr. Cooke Extended Care Centre for seniors care following their lobbying efforts against demolition.
The seniors’ group got some action writing the Alberta’s Minister of Health in January and going public to call for using the wings for transition care beds, respite care beds and palliative care beds for residents of Lloydminster.
Re-purposing they argued, will address the constant shortages of continuing care beds for elder residents.
The Lloydminster Region Health Foundation recently got behind the project and is working with Prairie north.
“They’ve put in their projects committees together and are now looking at some ideas,“said Brown, who added those might include relocation of the dialysis unit from the hospital to Dr. Cooke.
“Prairie North is doing a report to take back to the health foundation this fall and then we’re going to take if from there.”
The AGM was also the perfect opportunity for the health foundation to present three $1,000 cheques toward the Pioneer House expansion of Pioneer Lodge.
Two of the cheques were presented on behalf of Dr. Raff Sayeed and Rod Sellers in recognition of   their advocacy for seniors over the past 11 years.
Sellers, who founded Sellers RV Centre, and Dr. Sayeed were the two founding members of the seniors’ group that has over 100 members today.

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