Tag Archives: BC Emergency Health service

#2 – 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.

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BC’s Rural Emergency Room Crisis

An alarming trend to watch.

Editor’s note: During a protest over closures at North Island ERs, Adriane Gear VP of the BC Nurses Union told CHEK NEWS, “Our nurses are very worried. The Campbell River Hospital, I understand at any given time could be at 140%, 145% capacity, and at the same time there’s maybe only 60% to 70% of the nurses that would be normally scheduled to work.”  

By Michelle Gamage, The Tyee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The province’s emergency rooms are in crisis.

ERs across the Lower Mainland have made the news for being at capacity and past their breaking points. This overcrowding led to the death of an infant in 2020 and a senior in 2022.

Doctors have even been urging people to stay away and seek help elsewhere. In the Lower Mainland one in 10 patients are leaving ERs without seeing a doctor, according to reporting by CTV. 

Continue reading BC’s Rural Emergency Room Crisis

Transparency, accountability at B.C.’s ambulance service has flatlined, audit review shows

An alarming trend to watch:

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Vital signs on the performance and state of B.C.’s ambulance service remain an outstanding mystery, an update from the B.C. auditor general on Tuesday shows. 

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) and the Ministry of Health have failed to improve public transparency and accountability for ambulance services, or establish a co-ordinated approach so that patient care meets acceptable medical standards, indicates an extensive review of the province’s track record in response to 18 individual audits involving a wide range of agencies since 2019. 

Continue reading Transparency, accountability at B.C.’s ambulance service has flatlined, audit review shows

New contract already improving conditions for province’s paramedics

By John Boivin, Valley Voice, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

British Columbia’s emergency health workers are finding themselves in a pretty good place as they mark Paramedic Services Week in the province in 2023.

“It’s an exciting time to join BCEHS,” says Sara Thomas, the manager of clinical operations for Kootenay West. “With changes to the collective agreement, it’s creating quite a bit of excitement on the recruitment front – being able to offer living wages, more full-time and part-time jobs – is going to go a long way to recruiting and retaining paramedics on a local level.”

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Paramedic shortages still plague rural areas, but some remedies may be in the works

Editor’s note: According to BC Emergency Health Service, this does not apply to Cortes Island which is allegedly “well staffed with all 4 Scheduled On-call (SOC) positions filled and 3 on call staff.  SOC shifts are 24-hour shifts. Paramedics are at the station from 8am to 4pm, and carry a pager outside those hours.”

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Quadra Island resident Carol Woolsey had the misfortune to experience a medical emergency in her rural community last month after the last ferry had sailed for the night. 

After developing searing pain in her lower abdomen, the77-year-old and her cousin called911 around 10 p.m. on April 2. 

Disoriented by pain and vomiting constantly into her kitchen sink, it seemed to Woolsey it was taking forever for paramedics to arrive. She was relieved to see two people come through the door around 20 minutes later. 

However, relief turned to alarm when she learned the two were local volunteer firefighters responding because there were no paramedics available on the island. Woolsey had to wait for a crew to come by water taxi from Campbell River. 

Continue reading Paramedic shortages still plague rural areas, but some remedies may be in the works