Community paramedicine expands in BC

Submitted by BC Emergency Health Services Community Paramedicine Initiative

Provincial Rollout - 2_fnl
Submitted photo

In late April, Health Minister Terry Lake announced the initial 73 rural and remote communities that will welcome community paramedicine, a program offering BC residents enhanced health services and paramedics more opportunities to provide patient care.

Under this program, paramedics will provide basic health care services within their scope of practice to patients referred by a physician or other health care professional. Community paramedics will visit patients in their homes, providing services as outlined in the care plan developed in collaboration with the referring health care professional or community care team.

Community paramedicine was introduced to BC in 2015 in nine prototype communities1, and is now expanding to include communities in Northern BC, the Interior, Vancouver Island and the Vancouver coastal area.

At least 80 new full-time equivalent positions will support community paramedicine, as well as augment emergency response capabilities. Positions are being posted across regional health authorities, beginning with Northern Health and the prototype communities.

Community paramedics are expected to start delivering community health services in Northern BC this fall, with Interior Health, Vancouver Island and Vancouver Coastal implementations following in 2017.

Community selection was based on communities defined as rural, small rural and remote in the Ministry of Health Rural Health Services in BC: A Policy Framework to Provide a System of Quality Care Policy Paper, and currently served by ambulance stations with part-time staff only.

The selection was endorsed by the involved Health Authorities, the Ministry of Health, and the Ambulance Paramedics of BC (Local 873).

RCCbc is represented on the Provincial Advisory Committee by Dr. Granger Avery.  Rural doctors are also actively providing guidance into the development of patient care guidelines for use by community paramedics.

BC Emergency Health Services is coordinating the implementation of community paramedicine in BC with the Ministry of Health, regional health authorities, the Ambulance Paramedics of BC, First Nations Health Authority, RCCbc, and others.

For more information about the Community Paramedicine Initiative, visit:


1 The prototype communities are indicated in the following list with an asterisk (*)

Community Paramedicine Initiative – Communities

Northern Health region (20 communities): Atlin; *Chetwynd; Dease Lake; *Fort St. James; Fraser Lake; Granisle; Haida Gwaii; *Hazelton; Houston; Hudson’s Hope; Kitwanga; Mackenzie: McBride; Southside; Stewart; Tumbler Ridge; Valemount; Wells;

Interior Health region (31 communities):Alexis Creek; Anahim Lake; Blue River; Clearwater; Clinton; *Creston; Edgewood; Elkford; Field; Fruitvale; Gold Bridge; Golden; Greenwood; Kaslo; Keremeos; Lillooet; Logan Lake; Lumby; Lytton; Midway; Nakusp; New Denver; *Princeton; Revelstoke; Riondel; Rossland; Salmo; Seton Portage; Sicamous; Sparwood; Winlaw

Island Health region (19 communities): Alert Bay, *Cortes Island; Denman Island (incl. Hornby Island); Gabriola Island; Galiano Island; Gold River; Mayne Island; Pender Island; Port Renfrew; Port Alice; Port *Hardy; Port McNeill; Quadra Island; Sayward;  Sointula; Tahsis; *Tofino; *Ucluelet; Zeballos

Vancouver Coastal region (5 communities): Bella Bella; Bella Coola; Bowen Island; Madeira Park; Texada Island