UCPR EMS at odds with Ot­ta­wa pa­ra­me­dic ser­vice

Le Reflet (The News) - - ACTUALITES • NEWS - ALEXIA MARSILLO [email protected]

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.

—pho­to d’ar­chives

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...

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