A sign saying British Columbia Ambulance Service stands in front of a parked truck.

Cortes and Quadra Islands to receive more paramedics

On April 1, BC Emergency Health Services improved the staffing models for 60 rural and remote ambulance stations. Cortes and Quadra Islands are among the 6 communities within the Strathcona Regional District that will benefit. 

“We recognize that one staffing model doesn’t work for all parts of the province, and these three models will help us improve our services to better meet the needs of the community and patients and enable more of our paramedics to live and work in their home communities,” explained Leanne Heppell, BCEHS’ Chief Ambulance Officer, in a press release.

Helicopter landing on the beach in front of the Klahoose village, Cortes Island, in 2019 – Photo courtesy Homalco Air Rescue

The Quadra Island and Gold River ambulances are among the 21 rural stations upgraded to a 24/7 full-time “Alpha” model. Whereas under the previous Scheduled On-Call (SOC) model paramedics were at the station 8 hours a day, there will now be 8 full-time positions, with paramedics in the station 24 hours a day.

Cortes Island previously had 4 SOC positions filled, and 3 on call staff.  SOC shifts are 24-hour shifts, in which paramedics are at the station from 8am to 4pm, and carry a pager outside those hours

Under the new ‘Mix Shift’ system Cortes Island, Sayward and Tahsis are among the 25 stations that will have a total of 8 regular part time positions providing 24 hours coverage. Paramedics will serve in the station for 16 hours and be on-call for 8 hours.  This means staff on-duty in the station twice as often as they were in the past.

An unconfirmed source stated the Cortes Island station is now recruiting. Unit Chief Kim Robertson informed Cortes Currents that she could not comment and it would have to contact EHS media. They have yet to reply. 

The on-call rate has also been increased from $2 per hour to $12 per hour. 

The last of the SRD stations to benefit under the new system is Zeballos, which is among the 14 ‘Kilo’ stations that will have a full time unit chief supported by on call staff.

The 60 stations Receiving Improved Staffing Models

Links of Interest

Top image credit: The Cortes Island Ambulance station

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