Changes To Improve Emergency Health Services

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Transferring responsibility for ambulance services from the province's municipalities to the provincial government will help improve emergency health services to Albertans. The legislation outlining this change, Bill 43 (Emergency Health Services Act), was introduced in the Legislature on November 3, 2008.

"Ambulance services are health services and will be part of the provincial health care system," said Health and Wellness Minister Ron Liepert. "Our government plans to introduce a province-wide system of well-coordinated emergency services, delivered by Alberta Health Services. Over time, this system will help to improve patient care and reduce demands on the acute care system, especially hospital emergency departments."

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The Bill, which is slated to replace the Ambulance Services Act, provides a framework for the integration of emergency health services into the provincial delivery system. It also allows the traditional ambulance transportation system to expand to include new models of emergency health service delivery.

"The new Act will allow emergency health service providers to use alternate streams of care through coordinated dispatch and medical oversight," Liepert said. "This change is an important part of the province's plan to deliver health care more effectively and efficiently."

The Bill requires that ambulance services continue to be licensed and adhere to patient safety standards.

"All communities will benefit from this approach, which will ensure the highest standard of service can be provided throughout the province," said Rob Anderson, MLA for Airdrie-Chestermere.

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