April 18, 2014 12:44 am
Updated: August 6, 2016 1:43 am

Paramedic union says more ambulances needed

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Paramedics say the solution to long response times to medical emergencies isn’t more codes, but more funding.

Cameron Eby, provincial executive with the Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. union, criticized the new Resource Allocation Plan has sees some medical emergencies downgraded from Code 3 to Code 2.

“More resources is the answer,” he said on Unfiltered with Jill Krop.

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“Paramedics have known for well over a decade that response times are suffering. We’ve got an aging population as well an exploding population, and resources hasn’t been increased to meet demands.”

MORE: New ambulance response protocols raise concern

Fire chiefs and politicians across the province have criticized the new program, which BC Emergency Health Services says has improved the average response time for the most critical calls by 29 seconds on average.

“The whole concept is getting the appropriate service in the appropriate time to the person with needs,” says Wynne Powell, BCEHS board chair.

However, Eby believes the change has too many adverse effects.

“We applaud them for getting to the sickest people quicker, but we don’t believe that should come at the expense of anybody else,” he said.

“Regardless of why you’ve phoned an ambulance, we think you should be there in a reasonable time.”

MORE: New ambulance response protocols raise concern

Eby says that Ottawa has the same number of paramedics as Metro Vancouver, despite having a much smaller population, and that B.C. lags behind the national benchmark of eight minutes for average response times.

“Our data…showed we need in the lower mainland 22 new full-time ambulances,” he said. “That’s just to start hitting the national benchmark.”

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