City hopes to start talks with AHS over ambulance service’s future

NEWS RELEASE
September 2, 2016
For immediate release

City hopes to start talks with AHS over ambulance service’s future

Cold Lake, AB – City of Cold Lake Council passed a motion to enter into talks with Alberta Health Services (AHS) with the goal of taking over the contract to provide ambulance services in the city and the surrounding region. 

“The Cold Lake Ambulance Society has approached the City of Cold Lake several times for financial assistance,” Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Nagoya said. “The society’s financial shortfall stems from its commitment to provide a higher level of service in the area than AHS will fund. We need to see if AHS supports the City of Cold Lake entering into a contract to provide ambulance service, and then if we can work out a contract that council will support.” 

Council’s motion also included a provision to provide interim funding to the Cold Lake Ambulance Society in the amount of $25,000 per month for up to three months, subject to a bilateral commitment to negotiations with AHS take place.
Alberta Health Services currently provides funding for one full-time frontline ambulance and two core/flex ambulances in the City of Cold Lake. Core/flex ambulance crews spend four hours in a 24-hour shift at the ambulance station with the remaining 20 hours on call. They are expected to be able to respond to the ambulance station in eight minutes in the event of a call. 

The Cold Lake Ambulance Society, on the other hand, is currently funding two full-time, frontline ambulances and one core/flex ambulance.

The Cold Lake Ambulance Society and the City of Cold Lake have lobbied for a number of solutions to the issue at hand, including an increase in the service levels AHS is willing to provide and a means of transporting patients to hospitals in Edmonton that does not use an ambulance. 

“We’ve gone down a number of paths in search of a solution, and this latest option has the city looking at taking over the contract,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “Whether AHS is open to the idea, and exactly what the solution will look like remain to be seen but we are anxious and I anticipate that the talks will start soon.”

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Friday, September 2, 2016