Nova Scotia Citizens' Health Care Network

Nova Scotia Citizens' Health Care Network

November 17, 2015 13:59 ET

Patients, Students Call for end to Ambulance Fees

Wednesday Nov 18, Just Us! Cafe, Halifax 3-7pm

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 17, 2015) - The Nova Scotia Health Coalition and the Canadian Federation of Students are hosting a letter writing to hear from patients who have been affected by ambulance fees. The groups are encouraging people to come learn more and to share their experiences with the media and to send them to Health Minister Leo Glavine.

"1 in 4 Atlantic Canadians do not take the ambulance because of high ambulance fees," says James Hutt, Director of the Nova Scotia Health Coalition.

"We've heard heartbreaking stories about how ambulance fees have hurt patients, often the most vulnerable people in our society. We felt that it was time the Health Minister and the public heard about the impacts of this huge barrier to health care."

The typical cost of an ambulance ride in Nova Scotia is $146.55, although that figure increases to $732.95 for out-of-province patients, or $1099.35 for non-Canadians and new Canadians.

According to the Health Coalition, almost 4000 people have signed their petition calling for an end to ambulance fees. The patient advocacy group says ambulance fees deter people from seeking treatment during an emergency. Patients often wait until they are fare worse off or risk driving themselves, both of which ultimately has a larger impact on the health care system

The Canadian Federation of Students have also seen the impact of the fees on students.

"Many students who are living in Halifax are from out of province, and don't often realize that their bill would come to $700 if they take an ambulance in Halifax," says Michaela Sam, Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students Nova Scotia.

"Many students in Halifax are from outside of Canada; not only are they paying higher tuition fees, they are also having to pay significantly more to take an ambulance. International students have to pay over $1000 to use this service. This information isn't made public to these students, and they are often blind-sided by these bills."

The event takes place on Wednesday, November 18th from 3-7pm at Just Us! Café on Spring Garden Road, Halifax. People attending the event can share their personal experiences with ambulances fees, sending them to Leo Glavine in hopes that he sees how they affect everyone who is living in Nova Scotia.

The groups argue that for $7.6 million dollars, Health Minister Glavine could eliminate ambulance fees and ensure access to hospitals for all. Making this issue a priority would lead to long term savings in regards to the health care system, as well as savings on people's lives and overall wellbeing.

About the Nova Scotia Health Coalition

Formed in 1996, the Nova Scotia Health Coalition's goal is to stop the privatization of the public health care system, ensure high levels of care, and create a forum for people and communities to discuss issues in health care.

The coalition is made up of local health committees, community groups, organized labour, faith groups, women's organizations, students, and individuals dedicated to protecting and extending public health care to include services like pharmacare, dental care, long-term care, mental health care and home care.

The Coalition is political but non-partisan and receives no government funding.

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