Regional chair responds to code reds across region

By Jonathan Strom

Code reds, when there are no ambulances available for emergency calls, have become increasingly common in the region over the past month. 
Waterloo Region's paramedics union reported multiple code reds on Thursday, another on Friday night, and again on Saturday night as they continue to face a high volume of calls. 

The union has continuously called on municipal, and provincial leaders to help out. 

“I share the concerns the union is expressing because it impacts the people we serve right across the region,” said Regional Chair Karen Redman.

Hospital offload delays, and a shortage of ambulances, and staff have been key reasons for the delays. Council does have a plan for adding more ambulances.

“We've invested in care for our residents. We're putting three 12 hour ambulances on, we approved that, and the associated staff, and that's for the rest of 2022,” Redman said. “In addition, there's two ambulances that were approved last year.”

Subject to council approval of the 2023 budget, an additional eight ambulances are expected to come next year. The union has pointed out on social media that staff will be needed for these ambulances to be useful. 

At the same time, the region is also trying to work with the provincial government for help with the hospital offloading problem. 

“It isn't just about numbers of ambulances, it's them being tied up at offloads of hospitals,” said Redman. “We understand that increased hospital flow pressures clog up the system, and it's one of the reasons why we go to the minister of health, and the premier to say if we need more funding.”

Redman also pointed out that this is a problem across Ontario. On Sunday, Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service issued a code red, and Region of Waterloo Paramedics were sent to help. 

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