The United Counties of Prescott and Russell  (UCPR) is standing firm when it comes to reducing the number of calls its ambulances respond to in the City of Ottawa—and that has prompted investigations from the Ministry of Health.

UCPR began declaring its vehicles were not available for calls outside the counties on June 1 out of concern that not enough ambulances were available to respond to calls within its boundaries because they were responding to calls in Ottawa, and to a lesser extent, Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry.  The cost to the UCPR for responding to calls in the neighbouring jurisdictions is another factor in the decision.

According to Emergency Services Director Michel Chrétien,  by June 17, there were 193 times that the UCPR declared it was unavailable to respond outside its boundaries.  However, UCPR ambulances did respond to 48 calls outside the counties in that period.

“The Ministry’s not happy with us,” said Chrétien.

The Ministry of Health has launched two investigations into the UCPR`s decision to sharply reduce the number of ambulance calls it takes in Ottawa and Cornwall-SD&G.  Chrétien said he is actually hoping that the investigations make the ministry better aware of the situation Prescott and Russell is in, and that the ministry will take action to address the problem.

Chrétien said the investigation process could take several weeks or months but he is hoping that the situation can be resolved.