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Battle over EMS dispatch consolidation headed to court

(Tom Ross - 660NEWS)

FORT MCMURRAY (660 NEWS) – Alberta Health Services has announced that it will be taking the dispute over the consolidation of EMS dispatching to court.

The move to the provincial dispatch system last month has been condemned by local officials and earlier this week, Wood Buffalo council unanimously voted to stop transferring 911 calls to the provincial dispatch centre.

RELATED: Wood Buffalo may be the first, but more could depart EMS dispatch system

Now, AHS and Alberta Health have filed a joint application for an injunction, asking the court to step in.

“This is not a step we take lightly, however it is necessary to ensure ambulances continue to be dispatched appropriately, and that patient care is not put at risk,” reads a press release issued on Thursday.

AHS has said the RMWB has not provided any evidence to back up claims the consolidation has led to delays in response times, or that the municipality has had to intervene in some calls.

RELATED: Local officials raise concerns two weeks into EMS dispatch consolidation

Premier Jason Kenney was asked about the issue at a press conference on Thursday afternoon and defended the decision to centralize EMS dispatch.

“The provincial central dispatch has worked extremely well for well over 95 per cent of the province’s municipalities,” Kenney said. “This is just a natural step forward.”

Kenney said Health Minister Tyler Shandro would be speaking with Mayor Don Scott in hopes of coming to a resolution.

“We’re absolutely committed to this change. We think it’s the best thing in terms of service as well as efficiency,” said Kenney. “It’s served the province well and it should serve all municipalities well.”