Ambulance system overhaul required: QC mayor

  • Jan. 29, 2014 8:00 a.m.

The BC Ambulance system is not working when it comes to rural communities and needs a complete overhaul, says Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha. Ms Kulesha said she was happy to hear earlier this month that there are a couple of new recruits in Queen Charlotte, but the system needs much more than additional volunteers. “We need a new vision for training and retaining paramedics,” she said. “The emphasis that the organization has on it being a volunteer service does not appear to be realistic for the amount of time and training required. The islands’ four ambulance units have been suffering from chronic staff shortages in recent months, and people who call for an ambulance sometimes have to wait for up to an hour for one to arrive from another community. BC Ambulance media relations manager Kelsie Carwithen said the organization hired two new employees for Queen Charlotte in December and fast-tracked them through orientation and the emergency medical responder program. “One of these new employees is currently in Vancouver gaining invaluable experience to be prepared to provide excellent patient care in Queen Charlotte,” Ms Carwithen said. “There is also one additional applicant moving through the hiring process… It is hopeful that with the new hires, service provided by BCAS on Haida Gwaii will improve immensely.” BC Ambulance has also distributed three applications in Skidegate to potential recruits, Ms Carwithen said. Ms Kulesha said she applauds the volunteers for stepping up, but believes BC Ambulance must change the way it serves Haida Gwaii and other remote communities. “Our problems are really an indication of the status of BC Ambulance for rural BC – the system simply does not work,” she said. “One discussion was developing a floating pool of paramedics to cover communities such as ours when we were down attendants but there is still no provision of this service. We have local paramedics who if they were paid would take the position but cannot quit their jobs.” According to Ms Carwithen, BC Ambulance is planning to provide some ongoing medical education for paramedics on the islands, and will be able to provide additional ambulance coverage while the instructor is here. The ambulance service has also been talking to local fire departments about becoming First Responder certified as an additional resource.

Just Posted

Painting her way home

Janine Gibbons talks about all she learned illustrating Haida and Tlingit story books

Haida Gwaii gets top spot in The World

It was already a nice Christmas present, but Keith Moore was really… Continue reading

McNeill fined again for illegal fishing

A local man with a long history of poaching has been convicted… Continue reading

Old Massett taps grassroots for community plan

Over coffee, kitchen tables, and community dinners, Old Massett is taking a… Continue reading

Subsea internet cable to link up Haida Gwaii

Cable to connect Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast with mainland network

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

UPDATE: Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Most Read