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BCEHS takes issue with some claims about ambulance wait times

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The provincial agency responsible for the BC Ambulance Service is taking issue with some claims from Vancouver’s fire chief about wait times for paramedics in our province.

In this News1130 follow-up, BC Emergency Health Services says cases where patients are waiting for up to an hour are very few and far between.

Doctor William Dick says 39 call types were downgraded from emergency to routine last fall, and not 74 as Fire Chief, John McKearney claims.

McKearney says it’s been found some patients with calls now considered routine, have waited for an ambulance for up to an hour after the changes came into effect.

Dick says on average, it’s taking six minutes longer to get to calls that are routine.

“And I’ve asked, you know, again, repeatedly, and Chief McKearney’s been very good, we’ve been working together to look at all of those outlier cases where people are experiencing significant delays. But I have to emphasize, this is a miniscule number.”

He says those are unusual cases.

“And I look at every one of those cases to see what happened and why that delay occurred,” says Dick.

He says Emergency Health Services have had ongoing dialogue with multiple municipalities.

“I’ve been reaching out to city councils and first responder groups you know, on an ongoing basis, weekly, to make sure we get the message out and to get feedback about how this new process change is working, and I’m open to making adjustments in it where it’s medically necessary.”

But, Dick adds medical outcomes are not being affected by some calls having become routine.

McKearney is set to speak to Vancouver City Council today over concerns about the amounts of time he says some patients have been waiting since those changes came into effect.