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Peel paramedics ask councillors for 2 new ambulances, 22 staff to meet demand

File photo of a Peel Regional Paramedic Services ambulance. File / Global News

Peel’s paramedic service is requesting 22 new full-time workers to staff two more ambulances in response to growing pressures on emergency services.

A report that will be considered by councillors in the Region of Peel on Thursday describes the impact of more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic on frontline emergency services.

Peel paramedics serve communities in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga.

The report includes multiple examples of how pandemic pressures impacted Peel paramedics, including a period in December and January when “paramedics on modified duty provided 24/7 care coverage in all three (Peel Region) hospitals to alleviate the pressures.”

Read more: Lawrence Loh, Peel’s top doctor, set to depart front-line pandemic role

Meanwhile, a growing and aging population means the service will need to expand significantly in the long-term.

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Paramedics in Peel, like other areas in Ontario, are losing time offloading patients at hospitals. The time required to offload patients in Peel increased 14 per cent between 2019 and 2021, the report said.

Delays at Brampton Civic, which has been in “Code Gridlock” for at least two weeks, were responsible for almost half of total lost time.

Peel staff said paramedics lost around 1,200 hours to delays at the hospital.

Staff estimate 67 new ambulances, three new reporting stations and five additional satellite stations will be required by 2030 — an average of eight new ambulances per year from 2023.

Read more: Brampton Civic Hospital in ‘code gridlock’ for more than 2 weeks

Paramedics also say they need new resources now.

The report said two new 24/7 ambulances staffed with 20 full-time workers and two support staff should be added to the system. The estimated annual staffing cost would be $3.34 million. Fifty per cent would be funded by the provincial government.

“Our paramedics are working hard to keep our community safe. These needed paramedics will start to address our post COVID call volumes,” Dave Wakely, president of the Peel paramedics union, told Global News. “The pandemic has shown us that returning to the status quo is not sustainable or safe.”

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