Advertisement
Canada

Paramedic burnout and Code Zero events prompt OPSEU to renew call for more resources

Improved movement of patients within hospitals is getting the credit for fewer Code Zero events in Hamilton.
Improved movement of patients within hospitals is getting the credit for fewer Code Zero events in Hamilton. Hamilton Paramedics Twitter

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.

“[There were] 79,000 calls that we responded to last year, that’s a seven per cent increase from the year previous,” he said. “Over the last five years, our call volume has gone up thirty-five per cent.”

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.

READ MORE: Home visits by Hamilton paramedics aim to reduce 911 calls, hospital admissions

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.”

Story continues below advertisement

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.

READ MORE: Sick people pass through them all the time, so how clean are our ambulances?

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.”

Global News Redesign Global News Redesign
A fresh new look for Global News is here, tell us what you think
Take a Survey

Sponsored Stories