New Brunswick has begun the process of introducing advanced care paramedics (ACP) into the health care system.
Paramedics in the province are limited in the duties they can perform on a patient —; however a pilot program announced on Thursday for Saint John, Moncton, Bathurst and Edmundston aims to change that.
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“There will be some extra medications that they will carry,” said Phil Comeau, president of the Paramedics Association of New Brunswick.
“Medications that could stop seizures, could stop heart attacks right in their tracks.”
Paramedics in New Brunswick have come across several instances when the skills of an ACP could have been put to use.
“We had a child who was in a seizure for twelve minutes until we got to the hospital and they gave the medication when we got there,” Comeau said. ‘That’s an advanced paramedic skill.”
Ambulance New Brunswick says that now that the pilot project has officially been announced it’s hoped ACP will be able to start using their skills within the next few months.
New Brunswick is the final jurisdiction in Canada to introduce these paramedics to its health care system.
“We have 52 of our paramedics that are actually trained as ACP’s but unfortunately couldn’t practice what they had learned,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau.
“They had to go out of province to maintain their certification.”
Current ACP’s, like Brian Attfield, aret glad this day has finally come.
“We get into the job because we you want to help people,” he said.
“Of course you want to do everything you can to help people so if you go on these calls and you’re helping people, there’s nothing like having those extra skills at hand to help the patients do even more things that you were able to do before.”
The program is costing the province an additional $600,000 for pay increases and new vehicles for the specialized paramedics.
Four successive governments in New Brunswick have been toying with the idea of introducing advanced care paramedics.