Ottawa paramedic dispatch system has 'reached a limit,' chief says
Rural councillors bemoan slow paramedic response times
As rural Ottawa councillors bemoan slow paramedic response times and paramedic services near Ottawa report an increase in the calls they're handling for the city, Ottawa's paramedic chief says the system needs more resources.
Ottawa paramedics are expected to pick up high-priority calls within eight minutes of being dispatched, but in Osgoode ward that's happening only 23 per cent of the time, according to the ward's councillor, George Darouze.
The city dictates that its paramedics get to calls within eight minutes at least 75 per cent of the time.
Anthony Di Monte, Ottawa's chief of paramedics, told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Friday the situation is being caused in part by the strain of increasing demand in urban Ottawa, and that's not acceptable to him.
"We need a better response time," he said.
"The reality is, 90 per cent of our call volume is within the greenbelt, and only 10 per cent of the call volume is outside of the greenbelt."
Darouze said he met with Di Monte, other councillors and city officials in December about the issue, and that he's waiting for the results of a review to be done by June.
Darouze said it doesn't matter to him where ambulances are deployed from — as long as his ward's residents get to the hospital in an "adequate" amount of time.
"Paramedics are an essential service to my residents ... and everywhere in the city," he said. "I am concerned and I want to make sure that I pursue this, and I'm sure, slowly ... we can get the solution."
Di Monte admits his service's annual report will likely show response times growing past what's allowed by Ontario law, and he told CBC News that he'll likely be recommending city council approve an "addition of resources" to improve paramedic response.
"We've got to find a way to ... have enough resources to respond to the needs of urban Ottawa, and I think that's the solution that we need to look at," he said.