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New tools, treatment options for paramedics and patients

Alberta paramedics will have access to additional treatment tools and be better equipped to serve patients in rural and remote areas.

The transfer of the paramedic profession from the Health Disciplines Act to the Health Professions Act will strengthen health care delivery in Alberta.

This change will let paramedics administer a wider variety of diagnostic tests, including portable laboratory blood testing and ultrasounds. This information can help determine a wide variety of medical conditions, including whether a patient has an infection or is suffering from a heart attack. This means greater access to health care in rural Alberta, long-term care facilities, patients’ homes and other settings outside hospital.

“With paramedics on the frontlines of health care, they play a critical role in responding to the needs of patients. This change allows them to use their skills more widely and treat more people, both in emergency situations and on non-urgent calls. This is another example of how our government is transforming health care delivery in Alberta.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

This transition will also allow the Community Paramedic Program to expand as community care paramedics will be able to conduct more medical tests in a patient’s home and provide medication to a patient until they can get to their community pharmacy.  

“We know that the more we can do on the front lines, the better it is for patients and the broader healthcare system. Using our community paramedic program as an example; by providing more care in the community, we are reducing pressure on emergency departments.”

Darren Sandbeck, Chief Paramedic, Alberta Health Services

The regulatory change also gives the Alberta College of Paramedics and its members more options to support a flexible working environment for paramedics experiencing medical conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The Alberta College of Paramedics is proud of the responsibility to govern in the best interest of the public and the profession. Today, under the Health Professions Act and new Paramedics Profession Regulation, the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics enables practitioners to practice within the professional health practice model. Like our colleagues on the health and public safety team who provide quality care to residents and visitors to Alberta in their time of need, we are committed. This long awaited proclamation has propelled the profession of paramedicine to modern practice.”

Ian McEwan, President Alberta College of Paramedics

The new regulation also provides more integrated health care delivery as it allows paramedics to collaborate and work directly with nurse practitioners.

“This is really all about improving patient care. EMS is the first point of care for more than 320,000 Albertans every year. This change helps AHS better integrate EMS into the health system, by using their experience and skills in different ways to help us provide patients with the best health care possible.”

Deb Gordon, Vice President and Chief Health Operations Officer, Alberta Health Services

Quick facts

  • Alberta has approximately 10,000 registered paramedics
  • The paramedic profession is the fourth-largest regulated health profession in the province
  • More than 30 health professions are now governed by the Health Professions Act

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