5 Reasons Why Ambulances Should be Free

1. Accessibility

Many Nova Scotians don’t have the money to pay for an ambulance, even with repayment plans and the Ambulance Fee Assistance Program (which offers partial or full bursaries for those in the working class). This is because many people don’t know about these programs and/or they must present a ‘Notice of Assessments’ which many people without a job don’t have. In a study done by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 23% of Maritimers said they were deterred because of the ambulance fees. 42% of Canadians said that they might be deterred from calling ambulances because of the fees associated with it.

 

Lives are priceless. Someone shouldn’t hesitate to call an ambulance because they might receive a bill in the future. The minutes and potentially hours wasted by having to take another vehicle could make the difference between survival and death. Even if the Nova Scotian government might have to pay more to ensure that all residents can have access to free healthcare, most habitants would agree that saving someone’s life is worth more than any amount of money the government might have to pay.

2. Duty of the Government

The government has the duty to fund programs which benefit Nova Scotians. Funding ambulance fees does this by taking away any potential worries individuals might have about calling an ambulance and the costs associated with it. Moreover, the additional money spent can most likely be drawn from other places within the Nova Scotian government. Our government is extremely inefficient, and this money could most likely come from other programs or inefficiencies which don’t benefit the population nearly as much as this program would. If the government refuses to make ambulances free of charge, it is failing in its obligation towards its citizens.

3.Inappropriate Ambulance Use Won't Hugely Increase

Ambulance fees don’t solve the problem of ambulance misuse, they simply make those who needed an ambulance in the first place less likely to ask for one. Solutions to ambulance misuse might include more widespread knowledge of how the emergency system should be used alongside increased services for the physically impaired with nonemergent health concerns to be transported to hospitals without an ambulance.

 

Although abuse does happen sometimes through the use of ambulances to get to a desired part of a city or to jump lines at the emergency department, the vast majority of cases fall under the classification of misuse. Examples of misuse might include people calling ambulances when they think their condition is more severe than it actually is, or being mobility impaired and not having another form of transport. Most people call an ambulance because they truly believed they needed it.

4. Many People Live Far Away from Hospitals

Imagine it’s late at night and you suspect you’re having a heart attack. The nearest hospital is a 20 minute drive away and the only other person in your house is your partner who is unable to drive because of a disability. Many Nova Scotians are faced with a similar scenario. Their only choice to receive the medical care they need is to call an ambulance. Why should these people be charged over $140 simply to access healthcare?

 

The Nova Scotia government has a duty to provide healthcare to its citizens. If the government sets up healthcare centres but then actively discourages people from trying to access the centres through the use of fees, it’s not doing its job.

5. Less Work is Created for Hospitals

Many people’s main argument for ambulance fees is how expensive ambulances are. Abolishing ambulance fees can, in the long term, save the Nova Scotian healthcare system money for two main reasons. Firstly, not being able to call an ambulance due to the cost will cause some people to delay seeking treatment. If patients experience certain symptoms such as dizziness or shortness of breath, they be suffering from serious conditions such as a stroke or heart attack and should immediately seek help. If someone delays treatment because they’re worried about the cost of an ambulance, their condition may worsen. Because it costs more to treat patients with worse conditions, the hospital will end up spending more money and resources than it needs.

 

Additionally, when people don’t call an ambulance, they may transport themselves to the hospital in other ways. Sometimes this decision causes patients’ health conditions to deteriorate. Some conditions, such as those involving the spine and brain, need to be carefully handled in a way which only medical professionals can properly do. If someone transports themselves to the hospital and have a condition involving their spine or brain, they could arrive with a worse condition than they started with, costing the hospital more money to treat. Moreover, even if someone doesn’t make their condition worse by transporting themselves to the hospital, if their condition worsens naturally, the paramedic can mitigate or fix that problem in a way an ordinary person couldn’t.

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