Former ambulance worker familiar with problems in local service provision

Okanagan paramedics refer to Kelowna as a black hole because (there are) not enough ambulances on the road.

To the editor:

Re: Slow Response Time for Ambulance Has Raised Concern in Lake Country.

I used to work at the Vernon station for around two years and during that time I worked several shifts in Kelowna, Lake Country and West Kelowna. BC Ambulance Service has been well aware of this problem for years but instead of solving it (ie: placing the appropriate number of ambulances on the road), it continues to rob Peter to save Paul, meaning when community A gets busy, BCAS pulls ambulances from community B and C to fill the need.

The consequence of that, though, is that communities B and C are left without their own coverage, requiring the pulling in of ambulances from communities D, E and so on.

Okanagan paramedics refer to Kelowna as a black hole because of its habit of pulling in ambulances from West Kelowna and Lake Country due to the heavy call volume and not enough ambulances on the road.

BCAS is intentionally withholding the whole truth about Lake Country’s call volume. The actual call volume in Lake Country may be as low as they state, but they leave out the fact that the vast majority of calls that station receives aren’t in Lake Country, they’re in that “black hole” called Kelowna. In fact, 75 per cent of calls given to that station are in Kelowna. BCAS leaves that info out of their media statements. BCAS needs to step up and do what they are mandated to do—provide an efficient ambulance service.

Jason Angulo

Oakville, ON