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Commission outlines ambulance options, including private delivery

A report on the Britich Columbia Ambulance Service released today recommends five options ranging from keeping the status quo to privatizing the service.

Prepared for labour minister Murray Coell, former deputy finance minister Chris Trumpy's 56-page report also considers aligning the BCAS more closely with the health care system, integrating it with police and fire departments, or developing a community based system where each jurisdiction sets a plan suitable for its needs.

In his cover letter to Coell, Trumpy noted the refusal of the union that represents the paramedics, CUPE Local 873, to participate made it difficult to address all the questions he'd been asked to examine. “As government considers the options related to effective labour relations and the structure of the ambulance service, I believe it needs to find a way to engage CUPE Local 873 and its membership in discussions.”

The union refused to participate, the Tyee reported in Nov., because it said the commission's terms of reference were too vague and Trumpy was too closely associated with the government.

In his discussion of the possibility of using the private sector to deliver ambulance services, as three maritime provinces already do, Trumpy noted, “Although the system would continue to be publicly funded such a change may be perceived as a privatization of health care.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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