Paramedic services for Granisle are being expanded thanks to new positions. (Jessie Zhu photo)

Granisle ambulance service beefed up

Community paramedic service expanded

Improvements are coming to the Granisle ambulance station service, part of a package of additional services for ambulance stations being introduced in smaller communities across the province.

The station will now have four permanent paramedic positions, replacing an on call/casual system.

Three of these are Scheduled of Call (SOC) positions and the fourth is the station’s regular unit chief, said Shannon Miller from BC Emergency Health Services which is responsible for the provincial ambulance service.

A SOC position is one in which a paramedic spends eight hours at the station and then 16 hours away but ready for service over a three-day work rotation.

“These positions are scheduled on a predictable work schedule with set days of work. The staffing is one community paramedic unit chief, one community paramedic and two paramedics,” Miller explained.

“This change means the primary ambulance will be staffed with regular, permanent paramedic positions for the first time in this community.”

One significant benefit to the community is the expansion of community paramedic services to seven days a week while expanding the number of paramedics to provide that particular service.

“The primary care paramedics will be provided duties during their day shifts, which may include supporting community paramedic work,” Miller said.

Two of the four positions have already been filled and the other two are being filled by casual employees.

As of last week there were 89 medical emergency responses since the start of the year and that’s within range of the approximate annual average of 100 medical calls a year.

In addition to Granisle, four scheduled on call positions will also be brought in at ambulance stations on the Southside, Atlin, Dease Lake, Bear Lake, Hudson’s Hope, Mackenzie, McBride, Port Clements on Haida Gwaii, Stewart and Wells.

At the same time, 24/7 ambulance coverage has been introduced in Houston and Burns Lake.