By Justin Seward
Cypress County participated in the virtual RMA Fall Convention last week from council chambers.
Reeve Dan Hamilton had the opportunity to pose a question to Health Minister Tyler Shandro on the progress of the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) review in hopes of seeing more provincial government financial support for HALO.
“My question was if the HEMS review was done-it was done in September- and where it was at and if Halo would get funding. He didn’t answer any of it,” said Hamilton.
There was not much information in Shandro’s answer coming back to Cypress County.
“He said they had insufficient evidence on what they had put together,” said Hamilton.
“He didn’t have much of details. Since then I’ve asked for a copy of the HEMS review, but I haven’t heard back from his office yet.”
A feeling of frustration was felt from Hamilton for the delay in the review’s results.
“At this point, frustration,” said Hamilton of Shandro’s response.
“It’s been a year. They told us back in November of 2019 that they were going to do this report and here we are in November 2020 and we still don’t have the report.”
The matter will come back to council to make further decisions on.
Meanwhile, Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes called on Shandro and the UCP government on Thursday to reallocate $1.3 million from STARS’ $7.2 million budget and redirect those funds to HALO.
Barnes also wants to see the HEMS review reassessed and the current one to be released.
“It’s time that all Albertans were given the same level of service and HALO has clearly proven they’re a way more efficient provider,” said Barnes.
“We’ve (provincial UCP) been the government for 19 months. This HEMS review was already overdue. It was supposed to highlight this. I don’t want to waste any more time when lives are at stake. I don’t want to waste any more money, when we know this is an inequity, and southeastern Albertans need to be treated the same as all Albertans. Halo has proven they’re a safe efficient provider.”