New ambulance, technology to improve Island ambulance response times

P.E.I. Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson says a new computerized dispatch system and an additional ambulance will improve ambulance response times in the province.

The new ambulance will be stationed in St. Peter's area, is expected to be running by early February

Average ambulance response times province-wide are currently 9 minutes and 46 seconds. (CBC)

The P.E.I. government is making investments to improve ambulance response times across the province.

Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson says the province is investing in a new ambulance and computerized dispatch software that will use geo-location to help dispatch resources more effectively.

The system shows the locations of all the active ambulances across the province, as well as response times, call volumes and the nature of calls. 

"Now we are investing in important technology that allows us to monitor ambulance activity at any given time and strategically locate ambulances so Islanders have the best possible access to services." said Henderson.

The province is investing $200,000 in the technology and $388,000 to pay for four new staff and the new vehicle.

The new ambulance will be stationed in the St. Peter's area and is expected to be up and running in early February. The province says the ambulance will give Eastern Kings residents greater access to ambulance services and make the ambulance in Souris less likely to be pulled out to respond to other calls.

Health officials say the number of emergency calls requiring an ambulance has doubled since 2008, increasing from 6,000 pre-hospital calls in 2008 to 12,000 this past year.

However, the province says the average provincial ambulance response time has improved regardless of the increased calls. The average response province wide is 9 minutes, 46 seconds. The longest current rural response time according to the province is in the Alberton area at 11 minutes, 47 seconds. 

The most common types of ambulance calls for the province in 2015 were general malaise, falls, breathing problems, chest pain and traffic collisions.

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