Today in the House of Assembly, the NDP Caucus called for government to take responsibility for the current state of the provincial ambulance system and move forward with recommendations from the Fitch report dating back to 2013.
Leader Gerry Rogers says with no central dispatch, financial anomalies, and inefficiencies, everyone involved is in an uproar, from paramedics and unions to employers, owners, and the public. The Minister of Health and Community Services is simply throwing up his hands and saying government is just buying a service and doesn’t have the power to intervene, Rogers says.
“This is not a government contract with a courier company,” said Rogers. “Ambulances are an essential part of health care. I ask the Minister, when is he going to take responsibility and do what is necessary to ensure a safe, well-functioning, effective ambulance service for the people of the province?”
Rogers further asked, if the Minister is not in charge of the provincial ambulance service, then who is in charge?
Rogers says the Grant Thornton audit earlier this year found serious financial anomalies in the ambulance sector yet government has done nothing to address these issues.
“I ask the Minister, why is he putting off fixing problems his own government has perpetuated by its failure to provide financial oversight in this essential part of health care?”
NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael says the Fitch ambulance report, released in 2013, recommended government immediately set up a central dispatch facility to ensure ambulances get to people in a timely fashion. She says after five years, there is still no central dispatch and people remain at risk.
“I ask the Minister, after three years of being in government, why have you not created a central dispatch facility, which the Fitch report recommended be done immediately?” Michael said.
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