Ottawa Paramedics tout improvement in performance

The Ottawa Paramedic Service is touting an “overall improvement in performance” in 2017.

A new report shows paramedics responded to 139,514 calls last year, up 1.1 percent from 2016. '

There has been a 16.9 percent increase in paramedic response volume since 2013.

Paramedics met all Council-approved response time performance targets for calls in 2017

Council’s approved target is for paramedics to respond to life-threatening calls within 8 minutes, 75 percent of the time. Paramedics responded to life-threatening calls within eight minutes, 77.3 percent of the time last year. Paramedics also responded to sudden cardiac arrest calls within six minutes, 68.2 percent of the time.

The report by Paramedic Chief Myles Cassidy says staff will continue to monitor service demand and emerging trends to report impacts to Council.

Paramedics credit the use of a number of mitigation strategies to deal with the increasing call volume, including the Off-Load Nurse Pilot Program in hospital emergency departments, Paramedic Response Units, the Community Paramedicine Partnership, Targeted Engagement Diversion and the Neonatal Transport Team Pilot Program. 

The Off-Load Nurse Pilot Program in Ottawa Hospitals is credited with allowing paramedics to gain 26,369 hours in 2017.

The program allows paramedics to transfer the care of a patient to a designated off-load nurse within the hospital’s emergency department to expedite the return of paramedics to service.

The report shows paramedics spent 37,423 hours waiting in the hospital emergency rooms to transfer patients. (Statistics count time spending waiting in excess of 30 minutes).