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BC auditor general says urban ambulance response times below targets

VICTORIA — Auditor general Carol Bellringer says emergency ambulance response times in British Columbia’s urban areas are well below their time targets.

Bellringer says in an audit on emergency health services that missed response times in cities is significant because urban areas account for 86 per cent of B.C.’s life-threatening 911 calls.

Her report says when emergency response-time targets are not met, patients may not be receiving care when they need it.

The audit, for the period running April 2016 to December 2017, says ambulances in urban areas reached their nine-minute response time target on 50 per cent of life-threatening calls, while responses in rural and remote areas achieved and exceeded the time targets.

The report says B.C. Emergency Health Services has recently added more staff and introduced a new dispatch process, but data from 2018 indicates only a slight improvement in urban response times on calls to 51 per cent.

Bellringer’s report also calls for better co-ordination between ambulance services and fire departments, which often dispatch firefighters to emergency calls.


People walk past ambulances in the Emergency bay at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, B.C

Gerry Kahrmann /

PNG


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