Working paramedics report: Drastic waits for ambulances in Cornwall and area



    CORNWALL, ON, March 8 /CNW Telbec/ - There are drastic wait times for
ambulances in Cornwall, Finch, Alexandria and the surrounding three counties
of Glengarry, Stormont and Dundas say workers of CUPE 3251-PARA who are on
strike.
    "Paramedics are an 'essential service' and as a result 1/3 of the
membership of CUPE 3251 are on the job, trying desperately to service the
community," said Bob Manny, CUPE representative. "We're getting our
information directly from the paramedics on the road. As a result, we can
absolutely dispute the Mayor's contention that all calls are being answered
within 15 to 20 minutes. I can give you a litany of long wait times.
    "What the working paramedics have reported to us are ambulance wait times
of up to almost an hour. In one instance the ambulance was cancelled after the
patient waited 56 minutes and he then drove himself to the hospital," Manny
continued.
    Other wait times for the highest priority Code 4 calls varied from
25 minutes to 45 minutes, with many of the calls being answered by paramedics
outside the three counties.
    "In one case where there were Vital Signs Absent (VSA), three calls were
placed and it still took 50 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, though
firefighters had been on the scene for 30 minutes working on the patient.
    "In another case there were no ambulances in our counties, nor in
Prescott-Russell so Leeds Granville had to be called and it took 33 minutes to
arrive," Manny said. "We've had ambulances cancelled because the only
available cars were in Ottawa or Kingston and it was quicker for the patient
to drive to hospital. In another incident an ambulance was cancelled after the
patient waited for 44 minutes for one to arrive, and then there was the
41 minute wait because there was nothing available in the counties."
    Calls done by other services and their times are not published or
accounted for in the City of Cornwall numbers and CUPE working members are not
privy to the calls received first by other services.
    "One of the things our tax payers should know is that all calls done by
other services are fully paid by Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. However, they
refuse to pay their own paramedics of CUPE 3251. How can they agree to pay
other services and yet refuse to pay their own workers?" Manny concluded.




For further information:

For further information: Wendy Forbes, Communications Rep, Ontario
Region, (416) 292-3999, x249; Bob Manny, CUPE Representative, (613) 330-0443

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