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The Transport initiative conducts research and advocacy on emergency medical transport in rural British Columbia. It works with rural physicians, the BC Ministry of Health, health authorities and communities to find ways to improve emergency medical transport to improve rural patients’ health outcomes.

Image courtesy BC Emergency Health Services


Transport Narratives Study

Emergency medical transportation continues to be an issue in rural and remote British Columbia (BC). Transportation is a complex phenomenon that is impacted by various factors and overall, there is little data available on emergency transportation in rural communities.

This qualitative research aimed to explore the experiences of providers, managers, and patients on emergency transportation in rural, remote, and First Nations communities. A total of 31 participants discussed both favourable and unfavourable transport encounters. Barriers and enablers in transport were examined through an appreciative inquiry method. We identified key themes that impacted success which informed overall system improvement from a quality perspective.

The study was presented for a number of internal and external audiences both provincially and nationally, including the University of Northern BC Medical Conference. See below for further information.

National Summit on Equitable Access to Medical Transport in Rural Canada

The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) in partnership with RCCbc co-lead a national Summit which highlighted innovative practices that improve access to high quality, culturally safe medical transport to appropriate levels of care in northern, rural, remote, and Indigenous communities.

Key partners included decision-makers, patients and families, professional organizations, Indigenous-led and community-based health care organizations and health care professionals to identify how rural transport care can be provided to ensure equitable access to care for rural and indigenous peoples.

A summary document is being written for distribution to participants and related organizations. A clearly defined action plan is under development to support the implementation of a national strategy with timelines, accountabilities, and responsibilities for improved patient transport systems. The goal is to set agreed upon standards for medical patient transport in Canada and provide a platform for advocacy to implement practical solutions. This national work will complement and support the ongoing transport advocacy in British Columbia.

Engaged with Rural Health Providers on Transport Issues

We continued holding Transport meetings which enable rural health providers to share examples and raise concerns about specific transport difficulties. These events also provide opportunities for our team and participants to co-develop strategies to address the transport issues raised — and support the individuals who raise them. In addition, these meetings enable our team to share and discuss progress on research projects and provincial and national initiatives related to transport.

Explore the numbers

31 participants

31 participants

Gave input on their transport encounters in the Transport Narratives Study

Emergency Transport Study in Rural & Remote BC

Explore the key themes and recommendations that emerged from the Emergency Transport study, produced by team members Nelly D. Oelke (PI), Trina Larson Soles, John Soles, Nancy Humber, Jeff Beselt, Jel Coward, Ed Marquis, and Ray Markham.


Read more about the study

Plans for the Future

In the next year we anticipate significant opportunities to engage is system change around rural transport. Our relationships within the transport community are solid and we have the chance to add support staff with broad experience to engage in project planning for the immediate future. The work of the Data Analytics Subgroup provides material needed to leverage action within a number of sectors. Active collaboration with First Nations Health is key to our work, as we compare data gathered from FN communities with that generated from available date within PHSA and BCEHS. Equitable access is necessary to address the differing health outcomes for aboriginal patients, identified in #19 in the TRC calls for action. We continue to strive to eliminate these barriers to care.

Team Members

Click on a team member to explore which other projects they have contributed to in the past year.

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