**** HEALTH/WELLNESS Media Release
New EHS Contract Addresses Recommendations in Fitch Report
Government is committed to making improvements to the Emergency Health System (EHS) to ensure it continues to meet the needs of Nova Scotians now and in the future.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Zach Churchill announced today, March 8, that negotiations with the province’s current EHS provider, Emergency Medical Care Inc. are now complete.
“EHS is an essential part of Nova Scotians’ access to health care. Our new contract with Emergency Medical Care Inc. will redesign the system to provide the right resource, to the right person, at the right time, for the right reason,” said Mr. Churchill. “The delivery of emergency health care and the needs of our province has evolved and we are making the necessary changes to modernize and improve our system.”
In October 2018, the department awarded a tender to Fitch and Associates to review the current NS Emergency Medical Services model and provide recommendations for long-term, sustainable improvements. The department committed to making the Fitch Report publicly available when Emergency Medical Care Inc. contract negotiations were completed. The report is now available online.
Government is accepting 90 per cent of the report’s recommendations and work has been underway on several initiatives for the new EHS design including expansion of the community paramedicine program and increased use of patient transfer vans.
The Fitch report has been validated and helped to inform the new contract for a new EHS design.
The EHS operations contract with Emergency Medical Care Inc. includes ground ambulance, medical communications centre, LifeFlight Management and EHS specialty services and associated fleet maintenance, and administrative requirements.
Mr. Churchill has also issued a directive for Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) to bring down ambulance offload times. The directive will set the standard time for offload from ambulance to emergency departments and from emergency departments to elsewhere in the health system. The NSHA will develop and implement the necessary protocols to meet the standards.
“Throughout our time working on this report, Fitch and Associates were highly impressed with the level of commitment the province has shown and their ability to embrace change. Nova Scotia’s EHS system has changed from a transport model to a best practice model.”
– Guillermo Fuentes, chief operating officer, Fitch and Associates
– the new contract with Emergency Medical Care Inc. will be in effect as of April 1
– Fitch and Associates are an internationally recognized consultant group that specializes in emergency medical system design
– there are 160 ambulances and approximately 1,200 paramedics in Nova Scotia
– EHS paramedics respond to approximately 175,000 calls every year for emergencies and patient transfers
Fitch Report: http://novascotia.ca/dhw/publications/FITCH-EHS-Report-Redacted.pdf