Until 1997, more than 50 privately-owned companies across Nova Scotia coordinated the province’s ground ambulance operations. Each company had its own response area, varying levels of service and staff training, and different methods of receiving and responding to emergency calls.
The provincial government recognized a need to establish a single province-wide ambulance response system to meet the pre-hospital care requirements of all Nova Scotians. In 1998, Emergency Health Services (EHS), a division of the provincial government’s Department of Health, contracted Emergency Medical Care Inc. for the task of consolidating the existing operations and managing the new single system on behalf of EHS.
System standardization was a crucial component for the success of this initiative. The newly-established provincial medical communications centre provided one central location to field all emergency calls and dispatch all ambulances. Standardized fleet regulations allowed for consistency of the ambulance vehicles and the supplies contained within them. A physician in the role of Provincial Medical Director was also available for immediate medical consultation from any person within the system, including paramedics on calls.
Throughout the next 10 years, we continued to establish and expand upon the successful ground ambulance system. In 2006, we became responsible for the management of the provincial Medical First Response program. In 2008, we assumed the operations management of EHS LifeFlight, the air medical transport system in Nova Scotia. In 2009, we committed to supporting the technical needs of the provincial Telecare system, through a contract with Telecare provider McKesson Canada.
Our initial contract with the provincial government was fulfilled through the successful implementation and ongoing management of the ground ambulance system. We are now in a second long-term contract with the provincial government to continue managing all aspects of the province’s pre-hospital care requirements, and we are dedicated to continually improving operations and ensuring the health and safety of all Nova Scotians.