Sudbury paramedic services nearing capacity, EMS official warns

Paramedics in Sudbury are worried about what it will mean if the number of ambulance calls in thhe city continues to climb.

Paramedics in Sudbury are worried about what it will mean if the number of ambulance calls in thhe city continues to climb.

The calls have gone up by 38 per cent in the last five years and Aaron Archibald, the deputy chief of Greater Sudbury's Emergency Medical Service, said it's largely due to the aging population.

He said the city has moved more staff off of non-urgent calls to make sure all emergencies are handled quickly.

"However, as our call volumes continue to rise, we are approaching our capacity with service delivery.”

In the coming years, Sudbury city council will have to look at increasing the budget for ambulance service, Archibald said.

But, there is some good news. In a report to councillors yesterday, Archibald also said that paramedics are currently meeting 95 per cent of response time targets — and that includes a six-minute window to get to a cardiac arrest call.

But city councillor Jacques Barbeau said he wanted to make sure that residents in rural areas know that, in most cases, that six-minute window won't be possible for them.

"I mean, overall, our results are very good and our results are very good in those rural areas as well. We're just setting ourselves up for failure by talking about [a] six-minute response time."

City emergency medical service staff also told councillors that the amount of time paramedics spend waiting to offload patients at the Sudbury hospital has significantly decreased in the last two years.

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