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Hundreds of new B.C. paramedic positions announced as 24 stations go to full-time staffing

Health minister Adrian Dix says funding will better support health care workers
The province is embarking on what it calls “the largest hiring push in B.C.’s history” for paramedics in rural and remote locations. (File - Black Press Media)

The province has announced new funding to add hundreds of full-time paramedics to the BC Emergency Health Service.

At a news conference on Sept. 14, health minister Adrian Dix announced that 24 ambulance stations will be converted from on-call paramedic staffing to 24/7 stations with eight full-time paramedics, resulting in 177 total positions. Communities benefiting from this are Lake Cowichan, Port McNeill, Tofino, Cumberland, Bowser, Pemberton, Ashcroft, Barriere, Keremeos, Lillooet, Princeton, Sicamous, Clearwater, Revelstoke, Peachland, Fernie, Golden, Kimberley, Burns Lake, Fort St. James, Houston, Vanderhoof, Chetwynd and Fort Nelson.

On top of that, 26 smaller stations have moved to or will move to a scheduled on-call staffing model that will bring more regular paramedic jobs. Communities benefitting from this are Alert Bay, Atlin, Bear Lake, Blue River, Cortes Island, Dease Lake, Edgewood, Elkford, Field, Gold Bridge, Granisle, Greenwood, Hudson’s Hope, New Denver, Port Alice, Port Clements, Riondel, Sayward, Seton Portage, Sointula, Southside, Stewart, Tahsis, Texada Island, Wells and Zeballos.

The province is also looking to hire 85 new full-time paramedics to be spread across Vancouver, North Vancouver, Port Moody, Burnaby, Surrey, Langley, Richmond, Abbotsford, Kamloops and Prince George. They will also hire 30 new full-time dispatchers. Dix said that the province is in the process of filling those positions currently.

This hiring push is in addition to the 295 positions posted by the BCEHS in July after the province faced criticism for high ambulance wait times during the heat dome in late June.

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