Eight more ambulances are coming to the Lower Mainland, as well as more paramedics.
The new ambulances and 34 full-time paramedic positions have been announced after a review of more than 350,000 ambulance responses in Metro Vancouver and Victoria.
The review found that emergency calls are only expected to increase as the population grows and ages.
It says more and more people with non-life-threatening medical issues are calling for help, and that paramedics are often in the ER for more than 30 minutes, waiting to hand those patients over.
A new plan aims to speed up those hand-overs, review how to respond to those calls, and shorten dispatch and mobilization times.
However, Matt Kelso from Maple Ridge isn’t happy his city isn’t getting one of the new ambulances.
He says he had to wait nearly half an hour for an ambulance to come after he suffered a seizure.
He started a petition to get more ambulances to the city, but it failed.
“I really thought it was going to work, because there were 8 ambulances without names on where they’re going yet, and we got this petition together with 8,000 signatures, and a lot of politicians talking about it…but we’ve hit a brick wall.”
Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read has also expressed disappointment and is looking at following up.
NDP Health Critic Judy D’Arcy says Kelso isn’t alone in having to wait for an ambulance.
“I’ve been hearing from people throughout the Lower Mainland, from Surrey to Maple Ridge, to Pitt Meadows to Coquitlam. We have had crises because of slow arrival times of ambulances, and the only way to fix that is to put more resources on the ground to deal with emergencies.”