OPSEU/SEFPO welcomes news that the provincial government has increased funding to improve and expand 9-1-1 services, which the union’s Paramedics and Ambulance Communication Officers (ACOs) helped pioneer.
One of these services is aimed at expanding the scope of where paramedics can take a patient for treatment. Instead of necessarily transporting a patient to a hospital, paramedics can assess a patient’s condition and opt for treatment within the community health system.
“Paramedics and ACOs have been doing the leg work on these programs for years,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “It’s their dedication to providing quality care and their impressive skills that prompted government to invest more resources in these programs. Our paramedics have been embracing innovation while stepping up and providing superb care to COVID-19 patients during this pandemic.”
The other 9-1-1 service allows paramedics to provide immediate care to patients and to follow up with the patient’s care team after. Individuals treated would include palliative care patients and long-term care patients awaiting placement.
Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO’s Ambulance Division, Jamie Ramage, noted his pride in the union’s paramedics and ACOs for developing these innovative services and improving care for Ontarians, particularly during this challenging time.
“Our paramedics are proud to participate in providing the best possible care to Ontarians during these difficult times,” said Ramage. “We have always responded when we’re called upon through 9-1-1 and we’ll continue to do so; we’re committed to assisting with community health endeavours to improve care in everywhere across the province.”
Paramedics in the municipalities where the pilot programs will be expanding have already started palliative care training. The increased funding in these programs will also allow for the addition of more paramedics to be hired.
“OPSEU/SEFPO’s paramedics and ACOs have been making a significant impact in the communities where these programs are being tested,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “The expansion of these programs to more municipalities in Ontario will undoubtedly be a strong asset to our public health system.”