Province makes changes to improve ambulance services

B.C. government photo
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B.C.’s has appointed a new chair for the BC Emergency Health Services board and restructured the way decisions are made. 

The BC Emergency Health Services board of directors will now focus solely on ambulance services, at the direction of Health Minster Adrian Dix. It will be directly accountable to the minister of health with a mandate to ensure better service for patients and families — and better supports for workers who deliver the service, according to the province.

Dix has appointed Jim Chu, former chief constable of the Vancouver Police Department, to chair the board.

“Jim Chu has extensive experience leading front-line emergency services in British Columbia. I am confident he will provide the focused governance leadership BC Emergency Services needs to be an effective and high performing ambulance service,” Dix said.  

“When we call for help, we need to know help is on the way, and that it will arrive quickly.”

Chu said he is enthusiastic to bring his knowledge to the new role. “I look forward to working together with the Ministry of Health, BC Emergency Health Services management, paramedics and dispatchers to ensure the ambulance service provides timely and exceptional help for British Columbians, and that it’s an outstanding employer for workers.”

Darren Entwistle, president and CEO of Telus, will serve as a special adviser to the board.

Dix has also directed that BC Emergency Health Services now be led by a chief ambulance officer, responsible for the day-to-day management of the BC Ambulance Service.

He appointed Leanne Heppell to the role on an interim basis. She is a trained clinical nurse specialist, currently serving as chief operating officer for acute care and chief of professional practice and nursing at Providence Health Care. Heppell has 20 years experience in senior leadership at Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and the BC Ambulance Service.  

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