MONCTON (GNB) – A training program for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) will begin this fall to help ensure more ambulances will be on New Brunswick’s roads, which is a goal of the provincial government’s health plan.

“First responders, like paramedics, are trained to answer the call in our moments of need,” said Health Minister Bruce Fitch. “We are confident that, over time, having Ambulance NB reintroduce EMTs into their ranks will help keep more ambulances staffed in New Brunswick communities and increase paramedic coverage throughout the province. EMTs will assist their paramedic colleagues and provide a valuable service to patients and their families in New Brunswick communities.”

EMTs will provide additional resources to support non-urgent patient transfers. This means that, instead of assigning two paramedics to each patient transfer, a transfer unit may be staffed by one EMT and one paramedic, allowing for more paramedics to be assigned to units responding to emergency calls.

The reintroduction of EMTs is a key part of the provincial health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action, which aims to develop an integrated health system, ensuring New Brunswickers have access to timelier and improved care.

This initiative is the result of collaboration among the Department of Health, Ambulance NB, the Paramedics Association of New Brunswick, the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Medavie HealthEd and Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB).

“We are very excited about what the reintroduction of EMTs will mean for the profession of paramedicine,” said Jean-Pierre Savoie, vice-president of Ambulance NB. “Having a new entry point for people who are interested in a career in this exciting and rewarding field will help grow our staffing numbers and improve emergency medical coverage for New Brunswickers.”

The training course has been developed to align with competency requirements established by the Paramedics Association of New Brunswick. It will run for a total of nine weeks: seven weeks of classroom training, followed by a two-week practicum.

“The reintroduction of EMTs into the paramedic system will allow the profession to focus on our top priority, which is answering 911 calls to those facing life-threatening emergencies,” said association president Derek Cassista. “This move allows areas of less acute practice to be done in the most efficient way while ensuring appropriate care for the patient being transported.”

Medavie HealthEd will begin offering the first English-language training at its Moncton campus this fall, with the first graduates entering the workforce before year’s end. CCNB will offer the French-language course, with the first cohort of students expected to begin training this winter.

Details on applying to the English-language program are available from Medavie HealthEd. More information on applying to CCNB’s French-language program will be announced soon.