Hospital transfers delay paramedics and ambulances: City

For some time over the weekend, Toronto had no ambulances available to respond to emergencies in the city.

On Saturday, TO Paramedic Union tweeted that there was a “code red” at 6:38 p.m. Code red is as bad as it sounds: no ambulances.

Peter Shirer, vice president of the Toronto Paramedic Services Unit for TCEU Local 416, told the Toronto Star that this is nothing new and the situation is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a news conference on Monday, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg told reporters the city’s ‘absenteeism rate’ for emergency and essential personnel was 12%, but did not have a specific breakdown. how many of those people were paramedics. Politicians from all walks of life and other leaders have started referring to sick days as “absenteeism” in recent weeks.

On Thursday, the City of Toronto tweeted that 17% of Toronto paramedics were sick. Before the pandemic, that number averaged 9%, the city said.

The City points out that the main reason for the delays and behind Saturday’s code red is the transfer of patients to hospitals.

“In [the] hospital, wait times are the most significant factor contributing to system pressures, and it is not uncommon for paramedics to wait hours in [a] hospital. So this is a very important issue that we will continue to work on,” Toronto Chief Paramedic Paul Raftis said at a Monday news conference.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said paramedics told him about the delays even before the pandemic began.

“I just want to say they’re doing a great job, and we’re trying to help them with plans that can allow them to do that,” Mayor Tory said Monday.

Toronto typically operated a maximum of 120 ambulances before the pandemic. As of Wednesday, they had 117 ambulances on the road, the city said. Calls continue to be triaged and high priority calls will be reached first. Toronto Fire Services responds to 10% of low priority calls, according to the City.

Torontonians are always advised to call 911 if needed.

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