After critical report, N.S. promises to fine ambulance company for poor service – Halifax

A Nova Scotia Health Department official says the government will fine the province’s ambulance service if it fails to meet performance standards for response times.

Craig Beaton, associate deputy health minister, made the comments today at a legislature hearing in response to last week’s report by auditor general Kim Adair.

Adair said there was a lack of accountability in the ambulance service because no fines had been levied since the province’s contract with Emergency Medical Care Inc. was renewed in 2021.

Beaton says his department is now accumulating system data that can help determine when poor ambulance performance can be attributed to the company.

Charbel Daniel, executive director of operations with Emergency Medical Care, says his company has no problem with penalties as long as there is an appropriate framework for measuring who is at fault.

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Adair’s report found the average wait time for an ambulance in 2022 rose to 25 minutes from 14 minutes, while average response times grew between two and five per cent annually between 2017 and 2022.

The report says that following two written warnings, the Health Department can impose a fine of $10,000 per month when a response time standard is not achieved. The fine can increase by $1,000 for every subsequent month the standard goes unmet.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 4, 2023.

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