Union representing local paramedics reports high offloading times for patients

By Justine Fraser

Between high call volumes, hospital delays, and a lack of resources, the union representing Waterloo Region paramedics says they are feeling strained.

Wednesday morning they reported two code reds, meaning there were no ambulances available for a patient and they didn’t know when they would be able to send one.

“This has been going on for many years, it’s just been getting worse and worse over time. Some say it spiked during COVID which contributed, but was not the main factor,” said Dave Bryant, the vice president of CUPE Local 5191.

Bryant added that there is no real reason for the delays at area hospitals except sheer volume and a lack of hospital space to put patients.

The main factor contributing to high offloading times is a lack of funding for healthcare infrastructure that meets the demands of Ontario’s population growth, according to the union representing local paramedics.

“The population is growing and it’s illogical to not think the demand for healthcare won’t grow,” said Bryant.

“We are in the hallways with our patients on our stretches, who are still on our cardiac monitors and we’re providing what we call hallway medicine. The problem is there are minor issues that could be addressed, and patients could be discharged, our worsening.”

Currently, every hospital in the area is experiencing long offloading times and high delays, Bryant added.

Waterloo Region paramedics are having to use emergency services from other nearby cities to keep up with demand. Bryant said this is causing a ripple effect where those areas are seeing their services depleted as a result.

Due to the increased need for paramedics, many in the region are having to work longer hours than normal.

“Our regular scheduled shifts are 12 hours, and we are supposed to get two meal breaks. Right now, the average shift is no meal breaks and working on average of 13 hours,” said Bryant.

“Burnout is definitely a factor, not with just paramedics but all healthcare personnel are suffering the same issues.”

The region has done a lot to support them, including hiring more paramedics and attaining more ambulances but Bryant said they need the province to do the same.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today