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B.C. paramedics union voice concern over lack of ambulance staff

Click to play video: 'Paramedics’ union says ambulances understaffed in Metro Vancouver'
Paramedics’ union says ambulances understaffed in Metro Vancouver
The chronic emergency health care crisis across B.C. is continuing with the union representing paramedics raising fresh concerns about staffing levels. Travis Prasad reports. – Aug 20, 2022

The union representing paramedics in B.C. has raised grave concerns about low-staffing levels in ambulances across the province.

Ambulance Paramedics of BC officials said not a single ambulance was staffed in Maple Ridge on Saturday and multiple areas throughout the province weren’t faring much better.

Read more: Concerns raised over string of temporary ER closures at rural B.C. hospitals

In parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, up to 40 per cent of ambulances are parked, according to the union.

“Burnout and mental health challenges” among paramedics are contributing to low staff levels, while another issue is pay, which the union describes as uncompetitive compared to other emergency services.

”At the end of the day, what happens is if you call 911 and there might not be an ambulance coming to you in your time of need,” said Ian Tait, Ambulance Paramedics of BC’s communication director.

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“Now, obviously, the higher acuity code (calls), those are the priority for us, but a lot of the low acuity stuff, people waiting ten hours on the floor, people with stomach pain, people with lower extremity injuries, stuff like that is not considered high acuity and people could be waiting a long time.“

On Sunday, the union said all of Mission’s ambulances are sitting empty and in Abbotsford only 30 per cent of ambulances are staffed.

Read more: ‘Dehumanizing’: B.C. woman outraged her mother placed in hospital sunroom with no call button

In a statement, BC Emergency Health Services said it’s closely monitoring staffing levels across the province and taking actions to fill shifts as quickly as possible when they’re vacant.

Click to play video: 'Union says ambulances are understaffed in Metro Vancouver'
Union says ambulances are understaffed in Metro Vancouver

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