Alberta Ombudsman will not get involved in ambulance dispatch dispute

EDMONTON –

A joint complaint about changes to Alberta’s ambulance dispatch system will not be investigated by the province’s Ombudsman.

The government made the announcement in a news release at 5 p.m. on Friday evening.

An investigation was requested in September by leaders in Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, who said their regions had experienced significant issues and increased risks to patients’ care after changes made in January.

“My office thoroughly analyzed the complaint and confirmed that the decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch services was indeed made by Alberta Health Services,” Alberta’s Ombudsman Marianne Ryan was quoted as saying in a government news release.

“While many government-related bodies fall under my jurisdiction, AHS is not one of them.”

All of the mayors involved in the complaint are no longer in office.

At the time, Red Deer’s leader said her community “will not be giving up the fight for what we know is in the best interest of patient safety.”

“Our communities have tried every avenue to communicate with our government that this system is flawed and to strongly dispute the effectiveness of it, but our calls for a third party review remain unanswered,” said Tara Veer in September.

Former Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in October last year, that consolidating ambulance dispatch represents a best practice around the world and that the move would save the province $9 million a year that could be invested in improving service.

CTV News Edmonton reached out to the new mayors of Red Deer and Wood Buffalo for comment on this decision.

  

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