LONDON-MIDDLESEX, ON, Nov. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has learned that the current "call back" system in London and Middlesex County resulted in a resident waiting 23 minutes for an ambulance after calling 911 last week. OPSEU questions why the County is spending extra money on managers rather than investing in the frontline services required to ensure safe access to emergency care.
"Paramedics and dispatchers take pride in their work, and want to do their job well. This includes providing timely emergency services that make saving lives a priority," said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
Over the past three years, Middlesex-London Emergency Medical Services has added six full-time managers at as much as $150,000 a year, as well as numerous additional office staff. The total cost of these positions is more than a million dollars a year.
"That money could go a long way to paying for the paramedic services needed in the County. It's a matter of putting safety first," said Thomas.
With the current "call back" system, paramedics are expected to spend the night at home if they live within eight minutes of the ambulance base. They are then called to work as needed. This increases response time: rural areas in particular are subject to possible long waits for emergency services.
"The County of Middlesex must change the way they provide emergency services. The current system is archaic," said Scott Simpson, President of OPSEU Local 147.
The union is calling on the newly elected County Council members to re-examine how emergency services are delivered.
"The new Council has some big questions to look at. Why is Middlesex County still using the 'call back' system? There are a lot of smaller counties with much less money who have put an end to this unacceptable and dangerous practice," said Simpson.
"Middlesex County needs more paramedics, more ambulances, and 24 hour full-service so that residents receive timely quality emergency medical services," said Simpson. "How many people's lives must be put in danger before things change?"
SOURCE: Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)