LETHBRIDGE: Four new non-medical transfer (NAT) vans for Southern Alberta are freeing up ambulances in our region.
Before they came into service last month, medically stable patients being transported from one health facility to another for things like specialists consultations, diagnostics and procedures had to be moved via ambulance.
It's expected that the vans will be able to make 2,200 trips annually, which represent 10-per cent of all ground ambulance calls in the South Zone.
The vans can move four seated passengers or two people in wheelchairs. They accommodate people who can sit up and don't require oxygen or an IV. They're also staffed by emergency medical responders and equipped with automated electronic defibrillators, first aid-kits and top of the line GPS and communications equipment.
Greg Erickson is Manager of Operations for EMS in the South Zone. He noted that the vans are also much more comfortable for passengers than an ambulance.
Two of the vans are based out of Raymond, while the other two are in Brooks.