Alberta goes to court in fight with municipality over medical emergency dispatch

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EDMONTON — The Alberta government is going to court to stop a northern municipality from unilaterally withdrawing from the provincial medical emergency dispatch system.

Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health have filed a joint application with Court of Queen’s Bench to get an injunction to stop the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo from not transferring 911 calls to AHS EMS Dispatch.

The municipality includes the oilsands hub city of Fort McMurray.

The move comes a day after the municipality voted to stop transferring emergency medical calls to provincial dispatch centres, saying the recent changeover has led to logistical delays and confusion, putting patient safety at risk.

AHS, however, says there is no such evidence of confusion and that by withdrawing from the provincial system it is Wood Buffalo that is risking patient safety.

Alberta has been consolidating emergency medical calls for more than a decade, and recently brought in Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and Wood Buffalo.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press