Nova Scotia's emergency medical system is an international leader in the provision of pre-hospital care. Our exceptional paramedics are a big part of that.
Significant system upgrades and changes also play a role. Over the last eight years, a new fleet of ambulances, with standards for maintenance and equipment, was developed. The fleet is now staffed by registered paramedics, able to provide a wide variety of medications and perform life saving procedures. An air ambulance has been added to transport some of the sickest babies; mothers-to-be; children and adults to specialized tertiary care centers in the province.
We have also added a trauma program which provides resources for a comprehensive trauma system. Educational resources and programs designed to keep paramedics, nurses, physicians and other health care practitioners current and knowledgeable are now widely available. A training and simulation centre was created. And, most recently, a provincially coordinated medical first response program was developed to enhance assistance and care provided to patients in rural and urban communities prior to arrival of a paramedic on scene.
A paramedic is a medical professional who provides medical care to patients en route to hospitals or other medical facilities. They assess the patient and initiate pre-hospital medical treatment and care. Paramedics must be well-versed in many kinds of medical treatment.
In Canada, there are different levels of paramedics depending on the extent of their training and the level of care that they are able to provide.
Primary Care Paramedics (PCP) are the fundamental level of paramedic in Canadian provinces.
Advanced Care Paramedics (ACP) are the next level of care and are becoming the common standard. They provide a higher level of care. For instance, they can interpret 12-lead ECGs - now installed in all of Nova Scotia's ambulances. They carry medications and perform surgical airways and other invasive treatments.
Working closely with physicians, critical care paramedics essentially run a mobile intensive care unit. They typically work on aircraft, or in Critical Care Transfer ambulances. Their main job is to transfer critical patients between medical facilities.