EDMONTON, AB – A report on Alberta’s helicopter emergency medical services is suggesting STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service) become the dedicated provider for the province.
The provincial government is assessing that recommendation, and others, for Alberta’s helicopter emergency medical services after the review panel provided 11 recommendations on existing services, coverage gaps, best practices, procedures, and funding models.
Included in the recommendation to make STARS the dedicated service provider, comes a pitch for provincial funding to cover 50-percent of the operating budget from the current 23-percent. STARS would then work with other helicopter emergency medical providers, like HALO (based in Medicine Hat) and HERO (based in Fort McMurray) to ensure coverage across Alberta.
“Albertans need to know that they can get the help they need – no matter where they are. We will be reviewing the report further and consulting with HEMS providers in the coming months to determine next steps,” says Alberta’s Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.
Meanwhile, NDP Edmonton City Centre MLA David Shepherd says he is disappointed with the recommendations to have STARS as the dedicated provincial air ambulance service.
“This is incredibly disrespectful to the community members who work so hard to help their fellow Albertans, and to the local businesses who have given so generously to keep them flying. This decision is another example of Tyler Shandro’s drive to centralize control of emergency services.”
Currently, STARS bases are in Calgary, Edmonton, and Grande Prairie, and remains the only air medical provider that delivers critical care level services 24/7 with advanced life support.