CALGARY - City paramedics launched a radio ad campaign today urging municipal and provincial politicians to leave ambulance service in the hands of the City of Calgary.
The province has set a deadline of April 1st for the transfer of ambulance service from the city to the Calgary Health Region. Calgary paramedics, who favour letting the city continue to run the service, have warned plans for the transfer are far behind schedule.
The advertisements warn that the current response time goal of eight minutes might suffer if co-ordination is lost with fire and police services.
“Our ambulance service is widely recognized as one of the best in the world,” said paramedics’ union President Bruce Robb. “Messing with the system puts that at risk.”
Robb argued that while the Province will have legal authority over ambulance service as of next April, there is nothing preventing the Health Authority from entering into a contract with the city to run the system.
“The city has the infrastructure - it owns the vehicles, it owns the stations, and it can provide co-ordination with fire and police,” said Robb. “The city has the expertise and should continue to run the ambulance service.”
While Robb believes the city is open to the idea, he recognizes that they don’t want to lose control. “Calgary wants to make sure they have some say in how the system is run, and that’s reasonable.”
“But while the two levels of government get bogged down in posturing, April 1st is getting closer. This ad campaign is our way of saying ‘get to it - work out a deal.’”
Listen to the ads: