EDMONTON - Today, NDP Leader Rachel Notley revealed a staggering rise in ambulance red alerts in Edmonton and Calgary as the PC hospital crisis spreads to our ambulance services.
"Families depend on our hospitals and first responders to provide the care they need," said Notley. "When a loved one's life is in danger, no one should be forced to wait in line or told that there's simply no ambulance ready to help. But now the worst symptoms of the PCs' hospital crisis are spreading to our emergency services."
AHS tracks red alerts, which are the times when no ambulance is available to respond to emergency calls. According to records obtained under Freedom of Information, the amount of time that Edmonton ambulances experienced a red alert jumped by 2,200 percent over two years. In December 2012, Edmonton's ambulances spent 36 minutes in red alert - but that jumped to more than 13 hours in December 2014. In Calgary, the total number of red alerts increased from five in the final quarter of 2012 to 27 in the final quarter of 2014 - an increase of 540 percent.
"Maybe Jim Prentice and the PCs think it's okay to leave families without access to ambulance services, but skyrocketing red alerts simply are not acceptable to me," said Notley. "New Democrats will not stand by while our hospitals, emergency rooms, and ambulances limp from crisis to crisis. We will not let reckless PC decisions put patient care at risk."
While Jim Prentice plans to cut one billion dollars from the health care system and make the crisis in our hospitals even worse, Notley has announced that the NDP will expand the number of beds in hospitals and long-term care facilities to ease the pressure on overcrowded hospitals and emergency rooms.
"Unlike Jim Prentice and the PCs, we have a real plan to ease the pressure on our overcrowded hospitals and put our ambulances back on the road," said Notley. "When an emergency happens, all Albertans deserve to know that an ambulance is ready to help."
Rachel Notley’s NDP is the only party with a plan to solve the crisis in our hospitals, emergency rooms, and ambulance services.
Ambulance Red Alerts:
- Alberta Health Services tracks “red alerts” – meaning periods where no ambulances are available to respond to emergency calls.
- Information obtained through Freedom of Information shows dramatic increases in the amount of red alerts in both Edmonton and Calgary. Edmonton measures the amount of time spent in a red alert, while Calgary counts the number of incidents of red alerts.
- In Edmonton, time spent in red alerts jumped by 2,200 percent between December 2012 and December 2014:
- December 2012: 36 minutes in red alert (approximately 1.2 minutes per day)
- December 2014: 13 hours, 14 minutes in red alert (nearly 30 minutes per day)
- In Calgary, the number of red alerts jumped by 540 percent over two years.
- Q4 2011: 0 red alerts
- Q4 2012: 5 red alerts
- Q4 2014: 27 red alerts