For Immediate Release
April 27, 2016
Prince Rupert – NDP MLA for North Coast, Jennifer Rice, welcomes today’s announcement of the launch of the community paramedicine program for 73 rural communities across the province.
Along with paramedics and BC Emergency Health Services, MLA Rice has been advocating for the launch of community paramedicine program for three years, frequently questioning the Minister of Health as to when the program would finally launch.
The community paramedicine program will employ full time paramedics in rural communities to not only respond in emergency situations, but also help to provide primary care within their scope of practice.
“Instead of sitting on call for $2 an hour, paramedics in rural communities will be employed full time, allowing them to have reliable income, as well as to practice their skills and expertise in a primary care role,” said MLA Rice, who is the NDP Opposition Spokesperson for Northern and Rural Health.
Rice, the MLA for the North Coast will see community paramedicine in Bella Bella, Bella Coola and Haida Gwaii communities. Other Northern BC communities included in the program include Granisle, Southside, Fort St. James, Fraser Lake, Hudson Hope, Chetwynd, Tumbler Ridge, Mackenzie, McBride, Valemount, Wells, Houston, Atlin, Dease Lake, Kitwanga and Hazelton.
“The community paramedicine program is truly a win for rural areas, as it fulfills multiple needs. First, the need for full time paramedics for emergencies, and second, helping ease the work load of doctors and nurses for primary care matters that are within the scope of a paramedic, such as checking blood pressure or assisting with diabetic care.”
In recent years, the lack of emergency services in rural areas has contributed directly to several tragedies. The addition of the paramedicine program, which utilizes paramedics to provide primary care in rural areas, will help ease the pressure placed on doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses in rural communities.