Manitoba

Winnipeg paramedics say wait times to offload patients still high

The head of the city's paramedic union says wait times at hospitals remain stubbornly high.

But program to deal with city's top users of 911 is making a difference

winnipeg's paramedic union said wait times to offload patients at hospitals remain stubbornly high. (CBC)

The head of the city's paramedic union says wait times at hospitals remain stubbornly high.

Chris Broughton, president of Local 911, spoke to a city committee Monday morning about how long it takes for paramedics to unload patients at hospital.

Last year, the Emergency Paramedics in the Community or EPIC program was introduced to deal with the top 40 users of 911. Specialized paramedics work with the chronic users to guide them through the emergency medical system.

Broughton said Monday, EPIC has made a big difference. 

The demands on our system are always increasing.- Local 911 president Chris Broughton

"The EPIC program has been targeting the top 40 users of the EMS system and reduced that by 60 per cent," he said. 

But it has it's limits, he added.

"So really that's a small fraction of the 80,000 or so people that are seen by paramedics a year."

Broughton said paramedics are still waiting long periods of time before they can offload patients at hospitals.

"At this point in time, we haven't seen any kind of dramatic improvements in the actual times at hospital," he said. "Keeping in mind that the demands on our system are always increasing."

Broughton suggested an aging population is one of the reasons.