Cities in Ontario are scrambling to boost paramedic services as the health care system struggles with wait times in the emergency department.
Frontenac Paramedics, which serves the city of Kingston and the surrounding regions, hope a new ambulance docking station will reduce wait times.
The new station will be built on Battersea Road, just north of Highway 401.
Scott Reid, the Member of Parliament for Lamarck—Frontenac—Kingston, says the $3 million project is necessary to support the growing population in the area.
“It’s a very substantial population increase that we’ve seen in the past ten years and we simply don’t see the services to take care of these folks,” Reid said. “Especially emergency services.”
The Frontenac Paramedics Chief Gale Chevalier says calls have increased by 10 per cent, a much larger increase than was projected a few years ago. She also says that Frontenac Paramedics have had to respond to calls as far away as Ottawa.
The station will hold two ambulance docks and be staffed by four paramedics at a time, and aims to improve wait times.
“The new station is one of the steps that we need to increase the number of paramedics in the region,” Chevalier says.
“If we can get there within 6-8 minutes, we can generally have a successful outcome. The longer you wait, the worse it gets,” explains Dennis Doyle, the Frontenac County Warden.
The paramedics’ chief says they hired 15 part-time staff in the spring, and are working to hire more.
But while Paramedics union president Shauna Dunn says the new station is a positive step, more full-time staff need to be hired.
“I think it’s always great when we see investments in the paramedics service, but it’s just not the thing that we need,” she explains.
The new station will be ready for service by next spring.
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