Thunder Bay regional health sciences centre ER

(Thunder Bay Regional HSC)

Paramedics bringing patients to Thunder Bay's Regional Health Sciences Centre will be able to leave their patients in the care of specialized nurses as the result of an announcement Friday at the hospital.

The province announced nearly $230,000 for dedicated "offload" nurses to help with patients who arrive at the emergency department by ambulance. The nurses care for patients with non-life-threatening conditions. 

By reducing the amount of time paramedics spend at the hospital, ambulances can return to the road faster, allowing paramedics to respond to more emergency 9-1-1 calls.

"We have seen a substantial improvement in performance," said Norm Gale, Chief Paramedics with Superior North EMS. "In freeing up our paramedics, they can be on the street to respond to 9-1-1 calls." 

'More paramedics and ambulances'

Gale said the amount of time paramedics spend waiting at the hospital has dropped dramatically since June 2012, when a pilot program started. 

"A 71% reduction in total time that our paramedics and patients spend in the hallway waiting for transfer of care."

Gale said with better turnaround time at the hospital, it means more better response times for people calling 9-1-1.

"There are more paramedics and ambulances on the road. They are not tied up here in the hallways at the Health Sciences Centre."