Michel Chrétien is the director of emergency services for the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. (Photo: Francis Tessier-Burns).

Health & Wellness

Province asks Prescott-Russell paramedics to press pause on new practices

By Francis Tessier-Burns

August 08, 2018

“Interested” is how Michel Chrétien described the new provincial government officials concerning the ongoing unbalanced ambulance call volume.

According to the director of emergency services for the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is especially interested in fixing the financial implications of responding to calls outside the region. In the past two years, the UCPR has been out about $1.5 million for responding to calls in Ottawa.

Chrétien added the officials taking over the file requested more time to review.

In May, Chrétien announced that if local paramedics needed to bring a patient to a hospital outside of the region, they’ll mark themselves unavailable for dispatch until they cross into Prescott-Russell territory.

This practice was to start in August but at the request of the new provincial representatives, it’s being “tabled” for now. Chrétien maintains he still wants the opportunity to go ahead if changes aren’t made, though there’s no deadline as to when that would happen.

Chrétien added that deployment regulations introduced under the Wynne government are starting to have a positive effect towards reducing call volume outside the territory. While it’s still a little too early to show specific numbers, Chrétien says there’s been a general downward trend over the past four to six months.