100 Mile House will get six new full-time paramedics, according to a release by BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS). Williams Lake will get another four full-time paramedics as well to bring the total number of full-time paramedics at both stations to eight. Both communities are also served by numerous part-time on-call paramedics.
100 Mile House mayor Mitch Campsall welcomed the news.
“I think it’s fantastic. It’s a long time coming. It’s going to give a lot of relief to our fire departments throughout the South Cariboo,” he says. “It’s going to make a big difference to our community.”
“Going from two to eight is a huge benefit for this community and again it relieves a lot off our taxpayers because our fire departments were picking up a lot of the slack and doing a lot of the work. It’s going to make a big difference for us, that’s for sure.”
Campsall says it’s been a long time coming and thanks the province for fixing it.
100 Mile Fire Rescue responded to 450 calls in 2017, up from 365 in 2016 and 278 in 2014.
“With increasing demands on the ambulance service in the central interior, these investments will help make sure paramedics are there when and where people need them,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “We are committed to improving access to health care, especially for smaller communities where people may need to be transferred to other hospitals because they require a higher level of care.”
An additional ambulance is also being added in Williams Lake, to help with hospital patient transfers. Many patients in the area are currently transported to health centres in Kamloops and Kelowna. The new ambulance will ensure existing ambulances and paramedics remain available to respond to 9-1-1 medical emergency calls
“BCEHS is focussing its efforts on areas of the province where enhanced paramedic services are needed the most,” said Linda Lupini, Executive Vice President of BCEHS. “Paramedic services are increasingly needed, as part of an integrated health care system in BC.”
The additional resources are part of an ongoing commitment by the Ministry of Health, the Provincial Health Services Authority, and BCEHS to increase the number of permanent paramedic positions, and improve ambulance services in urban, rural and remote areas of the province.
“The Ambulance Paramedics of BC – CUPE Local 873 is pleased to see additional paramedic positions and resources being added to the Williams Lake and 100 Mile House area,” said Cameron Eby, the union’s president. “The announcement brings good news for our hardworking members – the pre-hospital medical experts – and supports us in providing definitive patient care.”
The new paramedic positions will be awarded based on the hiring standards in the CUPE 873 Collective Agreement with BCEHS.