Chipman fears ambulance reduction

People in the village of Chipman are worried about a plan to reduce their ambulance service.

Ambulance New Brunswick reducing overnight service in community for two-month trial period

People in Chipman are worried about a reduction in overnight ambulance service. 1:40

People in the village of Chipman are worried about a plan to reduce their ambulance service.

Starting later this month, Ambulance New Brunswick will return to having only one ambulance stationed in the community around the clock instead of two.

"It's a dangerous situation," said Mayor Edward Farris.

Ambulance New Brunswick says the average response time in Chipman with two ambulances is six minutes and six seconds, just one second faster than when only one ambulance was stationed in the community overnight three years ago. With there being virtually no difference in response time, Ambulance New Brunswick says it's confident coverage can be maintained with one ambulance.

That doesn't ease Farris's concerns.

"I know they're saying that speed time to get there is six or seven minutes," he said. "That's not true because they're taking the shorter runs and adding in to the longer runs and it averages out. But it's going to be a big impact to the area and the residents will soon realize it's province-wide because this is just the start."

Paramedic Trent Piercy worries the change could be a sign of things to come for other communities.

"If they decide to do this in other communities, this will affect not just those communities in rural New Brunswick but the urban centres as well," said Piercy. "The way Ambulance New Brunswick deploys its ambulance fleet for non-emergency transfers, 911 calls, and emergency calls, all the units that we have, the ambulances on the ground, are used in every location in this region."

The change takes effect Nov. 20. Ambulance New Brunswick says it will be monitoring the change for a two-month trial period and report to the provincial government. Meanwhile, the mayors of Chipman and Minto plan to lobby the government to cancel the change.