Emergency health care wait times falling in Alberta

Emergency health care wait times falling in Alberta

Updated: 1 month, 2 days, 20 hours, 58 minutes, 26 seconds ago

EMS Response Times

The HCAP includes a series of initiatives aimed at reducing EMS response times.

Those initiatives include fast-tracking ambulance service transfers at emergency rooms, using other modes of transportation for non-emergency inter-facility transfers, allowing EMS dispatchers to transfer less urgent 911 calls to Health Link 811, and allowing paramedics to assess whether a patient needs to be transferred to an emergency room by ambulance.

The province reports that EMS response times for most urgent calls have improved across Alberta since November. Decreases were seen in several areas, such as:

Metro and urban areas: From 21.8 minutes down to 17 minutes Communities with more than 3,000 residents: From 21.5 minutes down to 19.2 minutes Rural communities with fewer than 3,000 residents: From 36 minutes down to 34.9 minutes Remote communities: From 63.9 minutes down to 57.5 minutes

According to the government, the number of “red alerts” in the province’s two largest cities have fallen. Red alerts are issued when there are no ambulances available to respond to a 911 call.

Edmonton has seen a 92 per cent reduction in the number of alerts issued in January 2023 compared with January 2022 Calgary has seen a 60 per cent reduction over the same period

Surgical Wait Times

The report from the province mentions that surgery wait times are also down.

Since November 2022, it says the number of patients who are waiting longer than clinically-recommended times for surgeries has fallen by 9.4 per cent.

The government cites much of this success to its focus on expanding partnerships with chartered private surgical facilities. It says nearly 7,000 additional publicly-funded surgeries were completed at these facilities in January 2023 compared to November last year.

AHS Official Administrator Dr. John Cowell says AHS remains focused on ensuring that patients who have waited the longest for surgeries are being prioritized.

“I would like to thank our incredible front-line workers as well as our AHS leaders, who have worked extremely hard to identify and implement improvements to our health care system, with focus on our priority areas,” says Cowell. “We have emerged from an extremely challenging time, and I am optimistic that we will continue to see improvements that will benefit all Albertans whenever they need our care and support.”

Emergency Room Wait Times

The government claims that Albertans are having to wait for shorter periods of times in emergency departments.

The report says progress has been made in two areas:

Wait times to see a doctor in an emergency department decreased by almost 10 per cent provincially since November 2022. Time spent in an emergency department for admitted patients has been reduced by about five per cent.

In January 2023, the province says there was an average of 179 people waiting in Alberta’s 14 busiest hospitals for spaces. This marks a decrease from 253 last November.

According to the report, progress in emergency room wait times was achieved thanks to the following initiatives:

AHS opened 255 new acute care beds (non-intensive care unit) across the province. More beds in continuing care facilities have been opened, freeing more hospital beds for urgent care, including 55 new long-term care beds, 292 designated supportive living beds and 38 community addiction and mental health beds. 36 new transition beds for people discharged from emergency rooms in Edmonton who are experiencing homelessness will be opened this year.

READ MORE: Government of Alberta announces healthcare reforms

READ MORE: Diverting non-emergency 911 calls freeing up ambulances in Alberta: province