A lack of resources has led to an overwhelmed paramedic service in Hamilton, according to the union representing its workers.
Mario Posteraro, President of OPSEU Local 256, says emergency personnel are fatigued mentally and physically. He says the number of calls keeps increasing.
The problem, Posteraro says, is that without adequate staffing, patients are more likely to experience a Code Zero event, where only one ambulance or no ambulance is available to respond to their call.
He says the stress from dealing with these occurrences is beginning to wear down workers.
“Resulting in poor morale, disappointment, and frustration which is leading to an increase absenteeism, which in itself is probably a partial coping mechanism given some of the service’s challenges.”
Posteraro says the service needs to staff at least five additional ambulances to manage demand and is calling on city council to make it a priority.
He estimates it will cost $5 million to bring in the support they need, half of which he says would be paid for by the provincial government.
“I can’t see an expenditure that’s any less great at this point in time than investing in our ambulance service,” said Posteraro.
“The numbers support it, the stories support it, we just need the money and we need the money now.”