Editor’s Note: A letter was sent to Minister of Health Adrian Dix on May 12, 2022, by Barriere Ambulance Station EMR Paramedics Heather Eustache and Deb Stamer on May 12, 2022. The letter was then presented to District of Barriere Mayor and Council at their May 24, 2022. Regular Council Meeting. In response, District of Barriere Mayor Ward Stamer sent the following letter to Minister of Health Adrian Dix on May 26, 2022, to emphasize the concerns of Barriere Ambulance EMRS, the District of Barriere Council, residents within the municipality and all those living in the North Thompson Valley,
To the Honourable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, Victoria, B.C.
Dear Minister Dix:
RE: Ambulance Services – Barriere, B.C.
The District of Barriere and surrounding communities are fortunate to have a BCEHS Ambulance service facility in the town of Barriere. The service provides two (2) vehicles with a complement of eight (8) full-time staff.
We are very concerned with the changes for full-time ambulance staff that require to have their Primary Care Paramedic (PCP). This has led to a staff shortage in Barriere and our understanding is that many rural communities such as ours are seeing the same problem in that full-time PCP qualified staff are migrating to large urban centers, leaving locations such as the Barriere facility with no ability to back-fill with qualified EMR’s as we have done in the past.
What has changed in the service of medical response in the past year that suddenly EMR qualified staff, which have been providing stellar service for many years, now because of an administrative change, can no longer be employed in the system?
This situation has lead to other first responders having to step in and provide emergencytransportation. For example, the Barriere RCMP and Fire Department has had to transport patients the 70km distance to the nearest hospital due to the loss of ambulance coverage (something that is now a common occurrence) which in turn, results in additional emergency response unavailability in the North Thompson Valley.
Therefore, we respectfully request that the Ministry consider allowing or grandfathering previously valuable EMR to be allowed to be employed in rural areas that have ambulance facilities in order to reduce the amount of instances communities are left with no ambulance coverage.
Mayor Ward Stamer
District of Barriere
Cc: Leanne Heppell, BC Chief Ambulance Officer
Frank Caputo, MP
Peter Milobar, MLA
Chief Shelly Loring, Simpcw First Nation
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