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PoCo fire chief claims BC Ambulance refuses to discuss concerns about response times

Last Updated Jan 18, 2019 at 11:54 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Port Coquitlam's fire chief feels a dispatch protocol change means some people are waiting longer for some medical calls

PORT COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – Concerns raised by the fire chief in Port Coquitlam may be going unheard.

Nick Delmonico says BC Ambulance denied to meet with him on Thursday to discuss response times. However, BC Emergency Health Services claims the two parties did meet.

The chief believes a change to dispatch protocol last year now has some people waiting longer than before for certain medical calls.

The protocol change reorganized how 9-1-1 calls are prioritized. It means fire crews are not sent if an ambulance is able to respond to what Delmonico has described as “medium-priority calls” within 10 minutes.

But he argues those calls are still serious and patients are suffering longer than necessary.

Delmonico claims BC Ambulance is not willing to meet because members were unhappy about comments he made in a TV interview earlier this week. For its part, BC Emergency Health Services says a “brief meeting” did happen on Thursday.

“BCEHS executive Neil Lilley, Director of Patient Care, and our area director for the Fraser District, met briefly yesterday with Fire Chief Nick Delmonico to set expectations for continued engagement and discussions as partners in pre-hospital care,” reads a statement from BCEHS.

He says he will be speaking with city staff Friday to come up with a plan to address his concerns.