Statement from the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs

Response to the Auditor General's 2013 Annual Report

TORONTO, Dec. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs (OAPC) would like to thank the Auditor General for the in-depth review of the land ambulance system in Ontario.  We welcome any input that makes the system more effective for the almost one million Ontarians who use it every year. 

In terms of the review the OAPC supports a number of her findings; however there are a few areas where we believe more detail and context is required.  We also want to note that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care identified a number of issues previously and we have recently begun working with them to address these issues.

In particular we would like to note that

  • A large concern on the part of the OAPC is the issue of provincially controlled dispatch services.  We believe that the provincial model has not been effective for many years and a municipal centered model, which includes municipal accountability, needs to be considered to ensure effective and efficient dispatch.
  • In terms of response times, it should be noted that an effective and efficient EMS system is about much more than fast response times.  Paramedics are delivering out-of-hospital health care and the vast majority of our calls are not sensitive to time in seconds or minutes.  Additionally, we believe that there is a requirement for a mutually agreed to definition of "transfer of care" and measuring the same. Issues like increased pressure on emergency departments and hospital staffing also need to be considered when establishing guidelines.
  • Out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rates is a poor measure of EMS system performance as the care received by patients in hospital after cardiac arrest has a greater influence on long-term survival than the care provided by EMS alone.  EMS are much more than response to these types of calls (they represent <1% of the total) and survival rates depend not only on rapid EMS response and excellent paramedic care but critically with early citizen activation of EMS, early bystander CPR and defibrillation, and other indicators of public health and wellness. 

In addition further work and discussion needs to take place with regards to the Auditor's comments on specialized care and transport to non-hospital facilities. 

Going forward the members of the OAPC will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on improving the land ambulance service in this province.

The OAPC is a not for profit association that represents the paramedic leadership of every Ontario municipality, Ornge, and some first nations. It is the primary voice of municipal EMS providing advice and recommendations to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO).

OAPC MISSION STATEMENT

Promoting a culture of change surrounding paramedicine that is guided by evidence based decision-making and seeks best practices in the provision of service.

For further information contact Jim Price, OAPC Executive Director at 519.319.4664

SOURCE: Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs

For further information:

Norm Gale
President OAPC
807 627 5173
ngale@thunderbay.ca

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Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs

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