BC Ambulance Service eyes better overnight service in Nanaimo

By Ian Holmes
November 20, 2018 - 5:01pm

The BC Ambulance Service is looking to tweak its schedule to improve overnight service in Nanaimo. File photo/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — The BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) is evaluating how to improve overnight service in the Nanaimo area, particularly on weekends.

Lance Stephenson, Vancouver Island Director for the BCAS, told NanaimoNewsNOW doubling the number of Nanaimo's full-time paramedics earlier this year allowed their counterparts in Ladysmith and Oceanside to spend more time in those communities.

He said as a result there have been occasions where overnight response times have been delayed in Nanaimo.

“It isn't happening every night, but there are nights, especially weekends, where we are seeing an increase in call volumes and we're needing those extra units.”

He said there weren't as many resources as anticipated in Nanaimo without being propped up by neighbouring crews.

Stephenson said data is being used to help provide enhanced late-night coverage in Nanaimo.

“We're looking right now at the potential of shifting some of our start and finish times for some of our ambulances in the Nanaimo area to cover those gaps.”

Stephenson expected there would be a push for more resources in the future to serve a growing region which is seeing higher call volumes.

Forty-eight full-time paramedics came online in Nanaimo in March, up from the previous number of 24.

The increased service led to a 41-second reduction over three months to 7:46 for the average ambulance response to urgent calls in Nanaimo.

In addition to more resources in Nanaimo, two additional paramedics were added to Ladysmith, Parksville and Qualicum Beach respectively earlier this year.

Paramedics responded to nearly 15,500 calls in 2017 in Nanaimo, of which more than 4,200 were high acuity calls, according to BC Emergency Health Services.

 

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