With change comes opportunity

By Geoff Lee

January 12, 2017 12:00 AM

ALS—STAT Bill Till from the Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society, second from right, makes a point about improved ambulance care in the city at their weekly meeting prior to the group's news conference Tuesday at the Legacy Centre. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

The Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society is hoping the amalgamation of health regions in Saskatchewan under one authority will improve health services in Lloydminster.
“We’ve got some unresolved issues here, mainly with the ambulance,” said Graham Brown, president of the seniors care society.
The almagamation plan recommends consolidating dispatch and delivery for emergency medical services, which are delivered by a large number of vendors with poor integration.
The seniors care society held a news conference Tuesday at the Legacy Centre to rally residents to help lobby governments in Alberta and Saskatchewan to improve the service provided by WPD Ambulance.
Brown said having three ambulances and just one advanced life support paramedic for the 70,000 people with the Lloydminster health region is inadequate.
His group is sending a letter to Saskatchewan Health Minister Jim Reiter to suggest they designate Lloydminster as one of the possible three to six service integration areas or become a separate health region.
Brown said that makes sense since the Saskatchewan government has to deal with the Alberta government in order to administer anything health-wise in Lloydminster.
“This is a perfect opportunity to really take a look at: can Lloydminster exist on its own, yes we can,” said Brown who advocates one set of protocols for ambulance and one contract for the Border City.
He said this was in keeping with the MOU signed by Alberta and Saskatchewan health ministers in 2014 to commit to seamless health care in the city.
“We know of specific cases where lives were put at risk because of the lack of paramedics in our community.”
He said seniors are trying to tabulate as much of that information and get that together so they can use that in their presentations to governments.
“Today we’d like to hear from people that have run into problems and see that it’s an inadequate service,” said Brown.
He said when WPD took over the ambulance service they were the ones that said right from the beginning that Lloydminster doesn’t have the kind of service we should have in a city this size.
“We never had paramedics until 11 months ago, so we were under served,“said Brown.
He also said that being the largest centres, it doesn’t make sense for Lloydminster to call on outside help for life-saving transfers.
Brown says Lloydminster needs to be fully staffed with the highest level of training to serve the Lloydminster region first and foremost and secondly to provide backup to the surrounding communities.
“We should be at the right level of service to begin with,” he said, noting WPD has been working hard to resolve the issues themselves.
He calls them a good ambulance service, but they can only deliver what the provinces will allow them to deliver.
“Right now, we have two sets of protocols in our city—it’s just ridiculous,” he said.
“When there is a problem you know it’s going to be patient care that suffers—we have to get it fixed.”

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