The Ministry of Health is adding $91.4 million in additional funding over the next three years for emergency health services.
This targeted investment will mean faster ambulance response times and support expanded care from paramedics and dispatchers.
In addition, the Province will also provide $4 million in immediate additional funding for necessary equipment, including carbon monoxide monitors, stretchers, safety kits and visibility gear.
With this funding lift, BCEHS will implement a strategy focused in three areas:
- Improving emergency response in both rural and urban regions, with additional ambulances, paramedics and dispatchers;
- Supporting new initiatives to enhance rural and remote services to create better access to primary and community-based care; and
- Introducing provincewide innovations and improvements to support how BCEHS responds to calls.
To make needed improvements to ambulance response times in some urban areas, BCEHS will add six additional ambulances, to be stationed in the Lower Mainland, along with additional resources in the Interior. These are on top of the 10 additional ambulances put on the road in the Lower Mainland last year. Locations are still to be finalized.
To improve rural services, BCEHS will expand the capacity of air ambulance service in the northeastern part of the province, add more permanent part-time and full-time paramedic positions and offer enhanced training and roles for paramedics. Specific allocations and locations are still to be determined.
In addition, BCEHS will also complete the final phase of the implementation of the province’s new community paramedicine program into 73 communities. Under community paramedicine, paramedics provide patients with increased access to health-care services to help them manage their health. These services are provided within paramedics’ scope of practice, in partnership with local health-care providers.
More stable paramedic staffing in rural areas will also be supported by a newly negotiated universal hourly wage effective April 7, 2017, which will result in a pay increase for many front-line employees including part-time paramedics, who often work in smaller communities. This is in addition to the $91.4 million being announced today.
By the third year, this new investment will bring the BCEHS annual budget up to $441 million dollars a year, an increase of approximately eight per cent over its 2016/17 budget. These investments are made possible through a budget increase to the Ministry of Health under Budget 2017, which provides a total of $4.2 billion in additional funding for the ministry over the next three years.
See what community paramedicine is: http://www.bcehs.ca/our-services/programs-services/community-paramedicine
For more information on the Ministry of Health’s strategic priorities: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/health-priorities/setting-priorities-for-bc-health