Air Ambulance Service in Peace River


Air Ambulance Service in Peace River
Mr. W. Anderson: Mr. Speaker, for several weeks I’ve been inquiring into the procurement
and subsequent award of air ambulance contracts and specifically the level of service or lack
thereof. On May 10 during question period I asked the
Minister of Health about a specific situation at the Peace River Airport on April 29, where
a medevac plane was stuck in the mud for over two hours during a patient transfer. The minister responded by saying that she
would look into the incident. On the 14th of May the minister’s response
to my colleague’s question was that she was tired of the mudslinging and was going
to “set the facts straight” and told this Assembly that the delay was only 10 minutes. While speaking, the minister motioned to a
document she was holding. Can the minister commit to tabling this document
or any other documents that show the delay was only 10 minutes? The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health. Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The truth is that that hon. member said that
it was an emergency transfer. It was not an emergency transfer; it was a
routine transfer. That hon. member said that they were stuck
for two hours. They were stuck for 10 minutes. A second plane did get called in because it
wasn’t an emergency, and the second plane was used rather than using the original one. I’d be happy to provide confirmation of
that. This is that confirmation as well. Certainly, if the member requires me to put
something in writing to his office, I’d be happy to do that. Our number one priority is to keep Alberta
patients safe, and that will continue to be the number one priority. Mr. W. Anderson: Mr. Speaker, I never mentioned
that it was an emergency transfer. Given that the chief operating officer of
Peace River e-mailed the Minister of Health on May 11 and that in his e-mail he expressed
concern over the air ambulance service in his region and the reduction of patient care
resulting from it; furthermore, given that he described the incident on April 29 as a
medevac being stuck in the mud for two hours, not the 10 minutes the minister stated, can
the Minister of Health clarify this discrepancy between the information provided by the chief
administrative officer of Peace River and the information the minister stated on May
14? Ms Hoffman: I can tell you that the plane
itself was stuck in the mud for 10 minutes, that a second plane was called. Because it wasn’t an emergency transfer,
they waited for a second plane rather than using the other one. If it was an emergency, certainly, they could
have used the plane once it was dislodged from the mud, Mr. Speaker. The second plane did take more time. Again, because it wasn’t an emergency, that
was deemed as the best mode of transport. But I can tell you once again that nothing
is more important to our province, to our government, and to the people of Alberta than
ensuring patients’ safety, and that will continue to be the top driver in Peace River
and every other part of the province. 2:40
Mr. W. Anderson: Mr. Speaker, given that the town’s security cameras captured the entire
incident, specifically showing that the delay was in fact two hours and not the 10 minutes
that the minister stated, will the Minister of Health set the record straight? Why did she say that this level of service
is an improvement in patient care? Obviously, it’s not. Ms Hoffman: Just to reiterate what I said,
the plane was stuck for 10 minutes. Rather than using the same plane again, once
it was dislodged, they called for the second plane, Mr. Speaker. Because it wasn’t an emergency, that was
deemed by the people working in the community and closest to the patient as the best mode
of transport. So a second plane was called in. Again, the remarks that the member opposite
is referring to: he’s being very fast and loose with the truth. It smells a little bit like somebody’s pants
might be on fire. I certainly want to make sure that we protect
all of the people of the province of Alberta, that we keep them safe and that we ensure
that they have the very best access to the very best care no matter where they live,
Mr. Speaker.

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