Paramedic Week: Recognition, ambulance donation and thank you

Day in and day out, Halton Region’s Paramedic Services are on our streets saving people’s lives and responding to emergencies. During Paramedic Week (May 26-June 2), I want to recognize them for the great work they do in Halton.

In addition to their life-saving efforts, I also want to highlight their commitment to enhancing the health and safety of our whole community, both here at home and abroad.

Here at home, for example, Halton’s Paramedic Services offer CPR and defibrillator Paramedic response time goalstraining, and have worked hard to install defibrillators in municipal buildings across Halton.

During Paramedic Week Halton Region Paramedic Services is showing their community commitment by donating 3 decommissioned ambulances to 2 charities:

  •  St. John Ambulance will use one of the vehicles to enhance service by providing first aid at public events in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills. Halton Region has donated ambulances to all of Halton’s local St. John Ambulance branches in the past.
  • Ozone Systems International for use in South Sudan.

St. John Ambulance will use one of the vehicles to enhance service by providing first aid at public events in Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills. Halton Region has donated ambulances to all of Halton’s local St. John Ambulance branches in the past.

Ozone Systems International will receive the other two vehicles and will send them to South Sudan to move sick and injured patients to the hospital. Currently, there are only 3 ambulances servicing 3 million people in the area.

Previous international donations include Feed the Children (sent to Haiti) and the Rotary Club of Burlington (sent to Ecuador).

Please join me in congratulating the recipients of the ambulances as well as thanking the Paramedics whose generosity and care know no boundaries.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

The Importance of Adequately Funded Cost Sharing Agreements and Action on Offload Delays

Provincial funding is not keeping pace with the growth happening in our community. This is an ongoing challenge for Halton Region and we continue to experience funding shortfalls in our cost shared programs with the Provincial Government in the areas of public health and Paramedic Services.

Funding Shortfalls for Public Health and Paramedic Services

In 2013 the Province funded only 61 per cent of the total cost of cost shared programs versus the expected 75 per cent.  For programs that are supposed to be 100 per cent funded by the Province, we are only receiving 70 per cent.  As a result, Halton taxpayers are now funding a Provincial shortfall of $6.9 million annually for public health programs.   For Paramedic Services the funding received is 44 per cent of the total costs versus the expected amount of 50 per cent of the total cost.  This amounts to an additional $1.8 million annually that Halton taxpayers must fund for the shortfall.  Combined with the funding shortfall for public health, the total is $8.7 million which is equivalent to a four per cent tax increase for Halton taxpayers.  Funding is not keeping pace with growth yet the Province continues to mandate service delivery targets for public health standards and response times for Paramedic Services.  We are advocating to the Provincial Government for a commitment to deliver long-term, sustainable funding at the expected (agreed-upon) levels of cost sharing for public health programs and Paramedic Services.

Hospital Offload Delays and Response Times Impacted by the Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CACC)

Halton Region continues to raise the issue of hospital offload delays with the Provincial Government.  Local hospital capacity has not kept pace with growth  What this means to you as a resident, is that we have periods of time when limited ambulances are available for response in Halton due to the backlog of patient transfers at our hospitals.  This is of critical importance and must be addressed to meet the needs of our community.

The Central Ambulance Communications Centre manages and dispatches 911 calls to all Paramedic Services in Ontario.  This is a Provincial service that requires enhancements to its operations to ensure Halton Region is able to deliver responsive and timely paramedic services to our residents.  Our response times are impacted by the timeliness of call dispatches from the CACC and this in turn impacts our response times in the community.

Halton Region is advocating on your behalf to the Provincial Government for immediate action to address these issues. Learn more about our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”