Ambulance services in Nova Scotia will be strengthened andprotected under legislation introduced today, Oct.1, by HealthMinister Angus MacIsaac. The Emergency Health Services (EHS) Act outlines the requirementfor ambulance service providers to meet standards of patientcare, performance and competency. “Nova Scotia has the best ambulance system in Canada, and one ofthe top 10 systems in North America,” said Mr. MacIsaac. “Infact, this was confirmed once again this week when the groundambulance service was notified that it had just been given a fullthree-year accreditation by the Commission for Accreditation ofAmbulance Services. This is the first and only system in Canadato achieve this distinction. It means that our system has met orexceeded more than 90 clinical and operational standards.” “A great deal of work has gone into making the province’s EHSsystem what it is today, and this legislation will give theDepartment of Health the authority to maintain and improve thatsystem by making sure that standards for patient care, ambulancesand medical equipment and many other important areas are met,”said the minister. The new legislation will also provide the flexibility to havespecified emergency health service providers enhance the primarycare services offered in any area of the province. This practiceis already taking place on Long and Brier islands, Digby Co.,where paramedics certified in community para-medicine work sideby side with a nurse practitioner to provide basic medicalservices to residents. “Through our current performance-based contracts with serviceproviders like Emergency Medical Care and Canadian Helicopters,we have been successful in ensuring that standards developed byEHS are being met or surpassed,” said Marilyn Pike, seniordirector, Emergency Health Services. “This legislation will ensure that everyone working within NovaScotia’s ambulance system is required to meet standardsconsistent with safe patient care,” she said. “As a result ofthat, the public can be assured that when they call for anambulance only qualified staff in a reliable, well-equippedambulance will respond to their call for help.” Nova Scotia’s EHS system consists of the communication centre,ground ambulance system, medical oversight (medical management ofeach call), LifeFlight (air ambulance system), the Nova ScotiaTrauma Program, medical first responders and the Atlantic healthtraining and simulation centre. The Department of Health administers the system at a cost ofabout $65 million annually.