GRAND BAY-WESTFIELD (GNB) – The provincial government is introducing a rapid response unit pilot program to improve access to emergency medical care in rural areas.

“We continue to seek improvements in the delivery of health-care services,” said Health Minister Benoît Bourque. “Your government is committed to providing the best possible health care to all New Brunswickers. This pilot project is an excellent step forward in supporting emergency services in rural New Brunswick.”

Under the pilot program, rapid response units will be established in the Minto/Chipman area; Grand Bay-Westfield; the Kedgwick/Saint-Quentin area; the Acadian Peninsula; as well as in the southwest Miramichi region.

Rapid response units are intended to increase the emergency medical system’s capacity to treat patients, in particular when ambulances are responding to a high volume of calls. Units are equipped with much of the same life-saving equipment found on ambulances and are staffed by a single paramedic. Such paramedics typically operate within a limited geographic area, responding to calls and, if necessary, stabilizing the patient until an ambulance arrives for transport to the hospital.

“Ambulance New Brunswick has shown its ability to adapt and adjust to the dynamics of providing emergency services,” said Bourque. “We are proud of the organization’s recent designation of Accredited with Exemplary Standing. That is why we continue to work closely with them to identify new and innovative ways to respond to emergencies and I am hopeful we will identify additional initiatives in the future.”

The implementation of the rapid response units is targeted for this fall to permit time for the procurement of vehicles, equipment and human resources.

“The goal of everyone within Medavie Health Services New Brunswick is to improve the wellbeing of those we serve,” said Richard Losier, chief executive officer of EM/ANB Inc. “Part of that goal includes always looking ahead to the latest innovations in health care and seeing how we can use them to improve the quality of care we provide to the province. The introduction of Ambulance New Brunswick Rapid Response Units builds on our successful expansion of the advanced care paramedic program and will allow us to give New Brunswickers yet another level of primary care.”

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.