GUELPH POLITICAST #360 – When Ambulances Are the Emergency

The story is familiar at this point: A Code Red is called, and there are no ambulances available to respond to an emergency. It’s a piece of the healthcare puzzle that doesn’t get a lot of attention; we sit up when we hear the words “Code Red”, or when we see those line-ups of ambulances on social media, but the problems are ongoing, and in many ways they’re the same problems affecting other aspects of our healthcare system.

A couple of weeks ago, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) local 231 posted a picture of a long line of ambulances on Delhi Street. The message was that the same sort of burnout previously discussed with doctors, nurses and other hospital workers are affecting paramedics. They burnout too! If you and your colleagues are doing 9,400 hours of overtime, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched to think that some paramedics might be wanting a career change.

You don’t hear about these issues as loudly from the paramedics point of view when compared to nurses or doctors though, so it takes some doing to get that first hand perspective. How are the people who man – so to speak – our ambulances dealing with this current healthcare crisis?  Today we fix that by talking to Nick Di Ruzza, the president of the OPSEU Local 231, who take us behind the scenes of the Code Red state of emergency.

Di Ruzza will talk about what a day in the life of a paramedic looks like both before COVID-19 and today, and he will also talk about Paramedics Services’ success despite their challenges. He will tell us about the human resources issues his local is trying to overcome, and how paramedics approach standards of care beyond answering emergency calls. Later, he will discuss the problems around doing advocacy on behalf of paramedics, support from management and what the community can all do to help.

So let’s make room for paramedics in the healthcare discussion on this week’s Guelph Politicast!

You can follow OPSEU Local 231 on Twitter. Guelph Wellington Paramedic Services Chief Stephen Dewar has been delivering a monthly report about the demands on the service at the Wellington County Social Services Committee Meeting, and the next one’s in March. To learn more about our local paramedic service, you can find them under the “Living” section of the City of Guelph website or on Twitter.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple, StitcherGoogle, TuneIn and Spotify .

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

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