Fredericton is fourth New Brunswick community to get advanced-care paramedics
There are more advanced-care paramedics responding to emergencies in New Brunswick this week.
The specialized first responders are now working out of Fredericton, the fourth location in the province since New Brunswick became the last in Canada to offer the care about a year ago.
Stacy Mullin, an advanced-care paramedic, is showing off a bag that has 29 medications. It’s like a miniature emergency room, but one that can be taken on the road.
“This bag will do everything that the ER doc will do probably in the first 20 minutes in the ER department,” Mullin said.
This is the tool kit for advanced-care paramedics in New Brunswick, including the latest group of them that went on duty in Fredericton this week.
“We can re-inflate a collapsed lung,” Mullins said. “We can overcome a completely blocked airway with a surgical intervention through the neck.”
There are now a total of 30 advanced-care paramedics working in New Brunswick. There is 24-hour coverage in Saint John and Moncton and 12-hour coverage in Bathurst and Fredericton.
“We are hopeful this is only the first step for many other sites,” said New Brunswick Health Minister Benoît Bourque.
Bourque said Edmundston is one area in particular where he'd like the program to go in the future.
The initial plan was to begin the pilot project in that area, but that proved to be difficult.
“Because of staffing challenges, and part of the issue was language issues,” Bourque said.
Bourque said being bilingual is not a requirement to being an advanced-care paramedic (ACP).
“A lot of them are bilingual, but not all of them are,” he said.
Other paramedics who are qualified to provide the specialized care are eager for the program to grow.
“We still have advanced-care paramedics in this province who are licensed at that level but work on the ambulance and are not providing the care to the level of their training,” said Eric Beairston, Ambulance NB’s advanced-care paramedics manager.
The health minister says recruitment is still a hurdle to overcome.
“Having permanent sites will entice more ACPs to be recruited and be present in the system in New Brunswick,” Bourque said.
And with another being added others areas are continuing to wait and hear when advanced paramedic care will be in their area.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.