Granisle mayor Linda McGuire says she’s pleased the provincial ambulance service is moving to increase the level of service to the community.
Paramedics now work on a scheduled on call model whereby they are paid for eight hours at work and are then on-call for 16 hours based on a three-day rotation.
It replaced a straight on-call system so as to provide paramedics with more pay certainty but more rural and remote communities still struggled to maintain staffing.
But now Granisle and a number of other communities are going to have paramedics guaranteed more hours under a mix shift model.
“Stations with the mix shift model means staff will have eight regular part time staff in the stations, and staff will be on-duty in the station for 16 hours each day and have eight hours being on-call,” a release from the provincial emergency health services agency indicated.
McGuire said Granisle and other smaller communities in the region had been pushing for a change because of challenges in the scheduled on call model.
“We collectively expressed our concern that one size does not fit all,” she said.
“Our Granisle BC Emergency Health Services team can look forward to consistency in the mixed shift model providing for regular set days off.”
Granisle is one of 25 smaller and more remote communities in B.C. moving to the mix shift model, part of a series of service increases announced this month by the provincial government.
The only other area in the northwest moving to the model is the Southside of Francois Lake.
Stations in 21 other communities will move to the the Alpha shift model having at least eight full-time paramedics with staff on-duty 24 hours a day.
Of those communities four are in the northwest — Daajing Giids (Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii), Masset, Dease Lake and Fraser Lake.
Another 14 communities will now have a permanent and full time unit chief, someone the ambulance service hopes will provide a way to maximize local recruitment.
Stewart, Port Clements, Kitwanga, Sandspit and Atlin in the northwest are on that list.
Provincial health minister Adrian Dix said the paramedic staffing increases will amount to 271 full time positions.
The phase out of the scheduled on call model plan was part of the three-year collective agreement agreed to by the province with paramedics and dispatchers in February 2023. It covers 2022 to 2025.
In all the province says it has added more than 1,000 permanent full-time paramedic and emergency medical responder positions, and 42 emergency medical dispatch positions since 2017.