Staffing shortages left Maple Ridge with zero ambulances Saturday morning


“It’s dire on the market,” stated Troy Clifford, President of the union representing paramedics and dispatchers.

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Staffing shortages on the B.C. Ambulance Service left the town of Maple Ridge with no ambulances to reply emergency calls Saturday morning, in accordance with the union that represents paramedics.

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The Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. wrote in a put up printed on Fb that they had been “sounding the alarm” in regards to the variety of unstaffed ambulances throughout Metro Vancouver and the Decrease Mainland.

“ZERO ambulance (sic) staffed in Maple Ridge at this time,” in accordance with the put up.

“You’re not going to anticipate to have a full time ambulance in your doorstep in some distant location,” stated Troy Clifford, president of the Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. “However you do anticipate it in city and bigger rural communities.”

Clifford stated the province hasn’t expanded paramedic care so as to add the extra stations wanted to match inhabitants development within the area.

“The Fraser Valley is a very hard-hit spot” with respect to staffing he stated. “However it’s all around the province.”

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Troy Clifford, president, Ambulance Paramedics and Dispatchers of B.C.
Troy Clifford, president, Ambulance Paramedics and Dispatchers of B.C. Photograph by Arlen Redekop /PNG

Ambulances are primarily based in most Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley cities and they’re ceaselessly dispatched throughout municipal boundaries.

“B.C. Emergency Well being Companies (BCEHS) sends the closest accessible ambulance to 911 medical emergencies,” Andrea Visscher, a communications officer with the Provincial Well being Companies Authority, wrote in an e-mail.

“When now we have ambulances out of service, we will dispatch ambulances from surrounding areas.”

Clifford acknowledged that BCEHS have “moved ambulances throughout.”

“However whenever you’re so brief staffed all around the space, you don’t have quite a lot of assets to maneuver round,” he stated.

Clifford stated there was a “large disparity” between the wages and advantages provided to paramedics in comparison with different professions like cops, firefighters and well being care professionals, which has affected the flexibility to draw new workers.

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“We’re not aggressive concerning wages and advantages and that’s hurting our capability to recruit,” Clifford stated. 

E-Comm, B.C.’s emergency communications centre, predicted this 12 months would see a 12 per cent improve in all 911 calls (together with police, hearth and ambulance), in comparison with 2021.

“We’re seeing a few of the highest emergency name volumes we’ve skilled in our 23 years of service,” E-Comm spokeswoman Jasmine Bradley stated in June.

Elevated name quantity and years of not retaining tempo with demand and demographics have left B.C.’s paramedics in a “dire” scenario, Clifford stated. 

The scenario is the most recent signal of stress within the BCEHS, which has been underneath hearth for the reason that lethal warmth wave final July that left greater than 600 British Columbians lifeless, many who spent hours ready for ambulances.

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Well being Minister Adrian Dix shook up senior administration on the BCEHS final summer season and strengthened the service with extra money to rent 85 new full-time paramedics and put 22 new ambulances into service. 

Visscher stated the general public might help by solely calling 911 for emergencies and by calling 811 for twenty-four/7 basic well being recommendation or to talk with a registered nurse.

— With a file from Derrick Penner and Lori Culbert.

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