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Ottawa told to change its ambulance policy

delivery run then has a 30-minute break during which time the crew is not available for other calls and can do any cleanup nee- ded for the ambulance unit.The policy also applies to end-of-shift situations where an ambulance is allowed a 30-minute interval to return to base for the end of the crew’s shift, without being diverted to an emergency call. The OPS has defended its policy, claiming that the provincial government itself appro- ved the end-of-shift practice. But MPP Crack said things are going to change, starting with an order from the minister for Ottawa to update its ambulance dispatch protocol to comply with all ministry guidelines effective March 2.The OPS also has until March 10 to drop its “cool down period” policy concer- ning end-of-shift calls for unit crews. “Those two changes should help the situa- tion somewhat,” said Crack. “We also know that Ottawa has to increase the number of its units. I’m hoping the City of Ottawa will be open to meetings to reach some order and consensus.”

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Leministre de la Santé de l’Ontario, Eric Hoskins, a annoncé que la Ville d’Ottawa devra faire des changements dans sa politique de répartition des ambulances afin de réduire sa dépendance aux services ambulanciers de ses voisins. La situation a atteint un point critique pour les Comtés unis de Prescott et Russell alors qu’aucune de ses ambulances n’était disponible, pour une courte période en février, pour répondre aux appels des résidents de Prescott-Russell parce que toutes les unités étaient à Ottawa.

ambulances were in Ottawa dealing with calls, with none available for a short period in Prescott-Russell for emergency calls there. Counties council sought the MPP’s help in getting a meeting Feb. 28 with the minister. The result was an order from Hoskins for Ottawa to change its ambulance service policy, to help provide some relief while efforts aremade to bring both sides together to work out a new mutual aid agreement. Crack noted that Ottawa may need persua- ding about a new mutual aid agreement. “There is no (legislative) provision to force them into making an agreement,” he said. The complaint session with Hoskins is not the first time that Ottawa’s ambulance dispatch situation has come under fire from the UCPR or other neighbouring rural areas. AHealthMinistry report last year criticized the Ottawa Paramedic Service (OPS) on se- veral points concerning its dispatch policy, including the “cool down period” practice for crews nearing the end of their shifts or who have finished a hospital delivery run. MPP Crack noted the “cool down period” policy seems unique to the City of Ottawa and is not shared by its neighbouring regio- nal ambulance services. The OPS “cool down period” policymeans that a unit crew which finishes a hospital



The mayors of Prescott and Russell coun- ties have won a small victory in the fight to reclaim their regional ambulance service. Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MPP Grant Crack helped a delegation from the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) get a meeting with Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins during the annual Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) conference in Toronto. Subject of the meeting was the City of Ottawa’s heavy reliance on the UCPR ambulance service to supplement its own, to the point that Prescott-Russell residents are put at risk. “He (Hoskins) is fully aware of the situa- tion,” Crack said during a phone interview March 1. Ottawa and the UCPR had a mutual aid agreement for ambulance service, but that expired after 2015 and was never renewed. Ottawa now relies on the Ontario Ambulance Act, which dictates that the emergency dis- patch determines whose ambulance unit is closest and available when a call comes in, and then orders that unit to respond. At one point during February, all UCPR Josée Bourbonnais 613-286-9949 Service à domicile

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