Province gives Waterloo Region funding to expedite ambulance drop-offs at hospitals

Waterloo Region's 2023 budget allows for four extra ambulances to be purchased and 20 new paramedics to be hired. Waterloo Region

The province has given Waterloo Paramedic Services and the three area hospitals $1.65 million in an effort to alleviate the ambulance crunch the region has been dealing with over the past few years.

The one-time funding is intended to pay for designated offload nurses to be staffed at the hospitals 24 hours a day, and seven days a week, according to a release from Waterloo Region.

The intention is to cut down on the length of time ambulances spend at hospitals in order to get them back on the road.

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“Alleviating offload delays frees up our paramedics to be out in the community helping people and saving lives,” Regional Chair Karen Redman stated.

The current round of funding is expected to cover costs through the end of next March.

This is the second time this year the province has provided funding to help alleviate the issue.

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Back in February, it provided funding to deal with the issue for the month of March as the number of Code Yellows and Code Reds had risen immensely in 2022.

Code Yellows occur when there are just a few ambulances available to answer calls, while Code Reds occur when there are no ambulances available to respond to calls.

In Waterloo Region, there were 87 Code Reds over the first nine months of 2022, a major jump from 21 over the same timeframe a year earlier, according to a report prepared by Paramedic Services of Waterloo Region.

“Paramedic Services is currently losing the equivalent of three, 12-hour ambulance shifts per day, to offload delay; more than negating the two additional 12-hour ambulance shifts added by Council in July 2022,” the report said.

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