The NDP has issued a news release saying that an increased number of “red alerts” in Alberta’s EMS system is leading to increased ambulance wait times and, in some cases, patients being left without transport to hospital.
Red Alerts refer to an AHS code indicating all ambulances are in use. They are typically over in seconds or minutes as resources are freed or are deployed from other areas.
There is never a call where the EMS system is unable to respond. Red Alerts indicate times when all ambulances are in use in a given area, and are typically over within seconds or minutes.
Red Alerts are notifications that allow the EMS system to identify high volume locations and redeploy resources in the areas of most need.
Alberta has moved to provincial dispatch, which enables the system to deploy EMS resources in areas of greatest need, no matter where an ambulance is based.
The PC government is further increasing its capacity to deal with critical situations by increasing emergency room capacity at major hospitals across the province.
The term ‘Code Red’ refers to a point in time when all ambulances within a certain geographical area are busy helping patients. The term has historically only been used in the metropolitan areas of Calgary and Edmonton and does not universally apply to all communities.
As an example, amount of time the Edmonton zone was in a code red event peaked in December 2014 at 13 hours 14 minutes and 57 seconds in total for the entire month. In a 24/7 operation, that represents less than two per cent of the time (1.8%).
As an example, Code reds events in Calgary peaked in November 2014 at 15 events. In November 2015 Calgary responded to nearly 6,000 emergency calls.