Connect with us

Alberta

Provincial report recommends doubling support and making STARS sole air ambulance provider

Published

3 minute read

Stars Red Deer

Helicopter Emergency Medical Services Report released

A report on Alberta’s helicopter emergency medical services looks at existing services, gaps in coverage, best practices and procedures, and funding models.

Over the coming months, the Government of Alberta will evaluate the report and consult with helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) providers before making any final decisions.

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Services Report has 11 recommendations, with the three main recommendations being:

  • Single provider: Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) would become the dedicated helicopter emergency medical service provider for the province. STARS would work with other helicopter emergency medical providers to ensure consistent, safe coverage across Alberta. Provincial funding for STARS would rise to 50 per cent of their operating budget (from the current 23 per cent).
  • Legislation: A new air ambulance regulation would establish consistent deployment, operational, clinical and aviation standards.
  • Dispatch integration: The dispatch of STARS would be integrated with other emergency medical services to allow for the best use of all services to achieve the most efficient response.

“Thank you to the HEMS providers and community leaders who provided their perspective on the delivery of helicopter emergency medical services in Alberta. We all agree that in life-threatening situations, Albertans need to know that they can get the help they need – no matter where they are. We will be reviewing the report further and consulting with HEMS providers in the coming months to determine next steps.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • Helicopter emergency medical services are essential when ground ambulances cannot reach Albertans during a medical emergency or they are unable to reach them in a safe and timely manner.
  • Alberta Health Services is responsible for the delivery of emergency medical services across Alberta, including ground, fixed-wing and helicopter ambulances.
  • Currently, Alberta Health Services provides about $8.4 million per year to helicopter emergency medical services funding.
  • Approximately 1,450 helicopter flights take place each year; 7,300 are flown using fixed-wing aircraft.
  • The three main helicopter service providers that support emergency medical services are:
    • STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service)
      • Bases are located in Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie.
      • In 2019-20, STARS flew 1,255 missions (about 92.6 per cent of all missions).
      • STARS covers 90 per cent of Alberta’s rural and remote population without refuelling from its current base locations.
      • STARS is the only provider that delivers critical care level service on 24-7 dedicated helicopters with advanced life-support equipment.
    • HALO (Helicopter Air Lift Operation)
      • Based in Medicine Hat, it serves southeast Alberta.
      • In 2019-20, HALO flew 38 missions (about 2.8 per cent of all missions).
    • HERO (Helicopter Emergency Response Organization)
      • Based in Fort McMurray, it serves northeast Alberta.
      • In 2019-20, HERO flew 62 missions (about 4.6 per cent of all missions).
  • Currently, there are no regulations guiding the standards of air ambulance medical services in Alberta.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

Follow Author

Alberta

Alberta's top doctor says COVID-19 cases receding but vigilance needed at Halloween

Published on

EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 case numbers in the province continue to recede.

But Dr. Deena Hinshaw cautions that the hospital situation remains precarious given the high number of patients.

And she says Albertans can’t afford to let up on health restrictions, particularly with Halloween coming up.

There were 770 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday for a new total of 10,434 active cases.

There were eight more deaths, bringing that total to 3,014.

Alberta Health Services says there are 912 people in hospital with COVID-19, and that 201 of them are in intensive care.

Alberta remains under gathering restrictions for indoor and outdoor events, and Hinshaw says it’s important to stick to those limits at Halloween.

Hinshaw urged those setting out candy for trick or treaters to not use bowls, but to set out the candy spaced apart on a surface like a blanket.

She says those who want to have a Halloween party should consider a small gathering of vaccinated people.

“This is not the year for large Halloween parties,” Hinshaw said.

“If you’re planning a Halloween gathering try to have it outdoors and make sure the limit of no more than 20 people is observed.”

Hinshaw noted that last Oct. 31 there were 5,600 active COVID-19 cases, about half the current total. There were 141 people in hospital with the illness a year ago.

Alberta continues to battle a fourth wave of the pandemic.

It has more than doubled the normal number of 173 critical care beds and has had to cancel thousands of non-urgent surgeries to handle the surge.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley says with winter coming and COVID-19 still circulating, the province needs to provide stable funding to social agencies for winter emergency shelters.

“All people deserve to live in dignity and have a safe place to call home,” said Notley. “These calls are urgent. It’s getting cold outside, and our northern winter will be here soon.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Alberta

Canadian women's hockey team kicks off nine-game, pre-Olympic series against U.S.

Published on

CALGARY — Games that will determine the roster of Canada’s 2022 Olympic women’s hockey team will include nine against archrival United States.

Canada opens its pre-Olympic series against the U.S. on Friday in Allentown, Pa., followed by another clash Monday in Hartford, Conn.

The Canadians meet the Americans for the first time since edging them 3-2 in overtime for the gold medal in the women’s world championship final Aug. 31 in Calgary.

Canada’s women won four straight Olympic hockey gold medals from 2002 to 2014 before the U.S. beat the Canadians in a shootout for the title in 2018.

Twenty-nine Canadian players are centralized in Calgary training full time for Beijing’s Winter Olympics in February.

Goaltenders Ann-Renée Desbiens of La Malbaie, Que., Emerance Maschmeyer of Bruderheim, Alta., and Kristen Campbell of Brandon, Man., are Beijing-bound, but competing for coveted Olympic starts.

Six skaters will be released in December to get to the 23-player Olympic roster. 

Canada travels to Finland for a three-game series against its women’s national side Nov. 11-14.

The Canadians host the Americans on Nov. 21 in Kingston, Ont., and Nov. 23 in Ottawa. 

The series resumes in the U.S. with games Dec. 16 and 18 in St. Louis, and Dec. 20 in St. Paul, Minn.

The series wraps in Canada on Jan. 3 in Edmonton and Jan. 6 in Red Deer, Alta..

A pair of games against an all-star team of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) are scheduled for December with dates yet to be confirmed.

The women’s schedule released Thursday by Hockey Canada also includes three more games against male Junior A clubs: Oct. 29 against the Olds Grizzlies; Nov. 3 against the Camrose Kodiaks; and Jan. 10 versus the Calgary Canucks.

The Canadian women lost two games to B.C. junior teams earlier this month and dropped another game to an AJHL club earlier this week.

“We believe we have put together a plan that will challenge us physically and give us a level of competition that pushes our team to be at our best,” said Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s hockey operations.

“This is an opportunity to evaluate ourselves as we face high-calibre teams, and we are grateful to all the groups who are part of our journey.”

Canada opens the Olympic women’s hockey tournament Feb. 3 against Switzerland.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Trending

X