BC’s Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) are getting an extra jolt from the provincial government over the next three years.
An investment of $91.4 million will be going towards updated equipment, faster response times for ambulances, and counselling resources for paramedics and dispatchers.
CEHS Executive Vice-President Linda Lupini says this funding is the result of countless pitching.
“We had some very good ideas about how to innovate. We always need more resources, but there are some really good, best practices that we can look at from other jurisdictions that are experiencing our level of growth.”
In addition, the BC government will be providing $4 million for immediate, necessary equipment such as safety kits, visibility gear, carbon monoxide monitors, and stretchers.
Lupini says this will serve a great benefit in both rural and urban areas, not to a specific region, although it’ll give BCEHS the opportunity to hire more workers.
“We’re also going to implement some permanent part-time jobs with benefits, so people who do work in the service, in those areas, have guaranteed work and benefits and can make a living.”
She says having the resources to provide better care for first responders makes all the difference, especially during the current opioid crisis.
“It’s become extremely important to make sure that we are implementing best practices around psychosocial support. The increase in call volume and demand, many individuals in our service working overtime are getting very emotionally exhausted.”
She adds BCEHS currently has 90 professionals working with traumatized employees and the $91.4 million will go hiring and training more people.
(Files from Kyle Balzer with MYPRINCEGEORGENOW)