On Monday, October 29, Ambulance New Brunswick announced the creation of Rapid Response Units (RRUs) for five communities in the province, including Blackville, as a two-year pilot project.
The units, scheduled to begin operation November 29, will also be placed in Minto/Chipman, Grand Bay-Westfield, Saint-Quentin/Kedgwick and the Acadian Peninsula.
Rapid response units do not replace ambulances, EM/ANB CEO Richard Losier emphasized. However, the smaller vehicle staffed with one paramedic is intended to strengthen emergency response capability by providing an immediate response to calls and commencement of treatment on the patient until a transporting ambulance unit arrives.
In a traditional model, the transport of patients can take the ambulance away from their local areas. Because RRUs will not be involved in the transport of patients, they will always be on deck to respond to a call, provide paramedic level care and begin treatment of patients prior to the arrival of the transporting ambulance. Not transporting patients ensures the unit becomes available sooner and always remains in the specific coverage area.
They are as fully equipped as a regular ambulance, simply minus the stretcher used in transportation.
“This addresses one of the challenges facing our ambulance system – the fact that ambulances are often out of their area and on the road transporting patients to hospitals in other regions, making them unavailable to respond to an emergency call in the required time,” said Losier. “Because they will not be transporting patients outside their coverage area RRUs will always be close at hand to respond to an emergency call and begin the initial – often urgently required — intervention.
“Timely care is often a matter of life and death. This model has worked well in other jurisdictions and we are anticipating it will make a significant contribution to care and patient safety here as well.”
The introduction of RRUs in five communities was announced by the provincial government last June with a stated goal of improving access to emergency medical care in the rural communities of New Brunswick.
“Ambulance New Brunswick (ANB) is dedicated to providing the best service possible to the public we serve and the addition of these new RRUs will complement the ambulance coverage already provided” said Losier.
The units will operate in each of the communities 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Ambulance New Brunswick provides air and land ambulance service throughout New Brunswick. It serves the province with a team of more than 1,000 health-care professionals, including paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers and critical care flight nurses.
Photo: Ambulance NB paramedics in Blackville