BC Conservative MLA candidate Kurt Peats says that, if elected, he will push for a fully trained, and fully staffed BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) in Peace River South. “The fact is, the Peace [Region] is not the Lower Mainland, and the way the BC Ambulance Service is operating here is failing patients,” says Peats, who says that BC Ambulance’s current policy of positioning ambulances between call districts does not work effectively.BC Conservative leader John Cummins, who was in the Peace last week, agrees with Peats. “For too long, the BC Liberals have stood by while Northern British Columbians have suffered, and in some cases died, from a lack of timely ambulance service,” says Cummins.
Peats supports full time ambulances to be available in all Peace River districts, rather than current operations – where ambulance paramedics are dispatched to standby locations halfway between municipalities like Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd.
As well, Peats says BC needs to implement retention policies for ambulance personnel to remain in the region for committed periods. “Too many personnel are leaving the region after getting trained here and passing the one year probationary period. We need to mandate that does not continue to happen,” says Peats.
“The geographical distances between communities in the North means that considerable time is spent on the road transporting patients to various health centres. This means communities are left without one of the most basic services.”
Peats says that it is illogical for some patch workers in remote locations in Alberta to receive treatment faster than residents of Dawson Creek. Peats says he would support cooperation with healthcare providers outside of government to provide this level of service.
“Throwing money at the problem will not solve the issue, what is required is a made in Northern BC solution. The BCAS system has to be overhauled so that it can meet the needs of all residents. Together, we can rebuild the BCAS model that takes into consideration the very unique characteristics of the Peace Region.”