UCPR EMS at odds with Ottawa paramedic service
An arbitrator’s recent decision to reinstate a 30-minute no-response buffer at the end of paramedics’ shifts in Ottawa, only after a few months of having removed it, will directly impact the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) emergency and paramedic services. Alternatives are presently being discussed between the two services and a plan is expected to be announced in September.
Ottawa paramedics previously had 30-minute buffers at the end of their shifts in which they were not expected to answer any calls. The purpose of this buffer is to allow paramedics to have enough time to return their ambulances, have the equipment refreshed and to reduce the amount of overtime being paid. Provincial investigators then removed it after complaints from Prescott-Russell, who were seeing a significant influx in calls to dispatch to Ottawa.
Provincial rules state that the closest ambulance must be dispatched to a call, regardless of municipal boundaries. Therefore with the 30-minute buffer in place in Ottawa, Prescott-Russell paramedics must respond to calls in the city when they are the only ones on duty.
This has directly impacted emergency services in Prescott-Russell, most notably financially, as Prescott-Russell has to cover the extra costs of dispatching more often to Ottawa. After noticing an improvement in the amount of calls to dispatch to Ottawa during the months that the Ottawa buffer was revoked, reinstating it means setting Prescott-Russell a step back to where it once stood.
According to Michel Chrétien, the director of emergency services for the UCPR, he and the chief of the Ottawa Paramedic Service, Myles Cassidy, are currently discussing alternatives and are in the process of formulating a plan that will work for all parties – both paramedic services and the taxpayers. An announcement is expected in September.
La décision récente visant à rétablir une période de non-réponse de 30 minutes à la fin des quarts de travail des ambulanciers à Ottawa, après l’avoir retiré seulement depuis quelques mois, aura un impact direct sur les services d’urgence et paramédicaux de Prescott-Russell. Le directeur des services d’urgence de Prescott-Russell, Michel Chrétien, et le chef des services paramédicaux d’Ottawa, Myles Cassidy, sont en train de discuter d’options et de formuler un plan. Une annonce est prévue pour le mois de septembre.