For Immediate Release
February 28, 2019
British Columbia Paramedic Association Supports Auditor General’s Report on BCEHS
Vancouver, BC — The British Columbia Paramedic Association (BCPA), an independent body representing paramedic clinical and professional practice in British Columbia, supports the findings of the BC Auditor General’s Report on the British Columbia Emergency Health Services (BCEHS). Executive Director, Scott Ramey a Critical Care Paramedic says “It appears to be a well balanced report; emphasizing the positive improvements well underway, while outlining within the recommendations some areas BCEHS has already identified for on-going enhancement.”
In particular BCPA shares the view expressed within the auditor’s report that a comprehensive clinical quality assurance and improvement program would serve to improve overall patient care standards. In the interest of public safety such a program would encompass the full emergency health services response profile, ranging from first responder through paramedic treatment and transport. Quality assurance practices previously only applied to paramedic levels of care would serve to enhance patient safety once applied across all levels of care, including first responders. BCPA President, Edward Peters, a Critical Care Paramedic, shared that “The BCPA strives to continually improve patient care through the enhancement of paramedic education and by supporting sound clinical oversight.”
The auditor general made particularly valid recommendations regarding several areas of clinical practice and patient care in British Columbia. The expansion of advanced levels of paramedic care to suburban and rural areas should be further explored and is long overdue.
All levels of responders contribute greatly to the emergency health system. There are areas the BCPA sees opportunities to rapidly and significantly enhance patient care. Of note, the Auditor General emphasized the ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) program in the report. The BCPA supports the addition of Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) 12-lead ECG acquisition, 12-lead interpretation and STEMI bypass. These skills and procedures have to date been restricted to Advanced Care Paramedics (ACP) in BC while other provinces have proven the effectiveness of a PCP STEMI program in broadening accessibility to life saving STEMI care in a timely and safe manner.
BCPA would be delighted to see greater evaluation of the rural and remote inter-facility transport system in future system status reports. BCEHS is a lifeline for rural and remote patients requiring referral to specialty care; often in urgent and emergent conditions far from where these patients reside. The evaluation of these critical care transport services was excluded from the report and is not on the current BCEHS list of active projects outlined within.
The British Columbia Paramedic Association is committed to the translation and application of pre-hospital clinical research for the enhancement of patient care through paramedic derived evidence based medicine. Any opportunity for the BCPA to work with BCEHS toward the enhancement of paramedic education, clinical practice, quality, risk, safety and improved patient outcomes is welcomed.
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Scott Ramey, CCP