Amherstburg To Approach County Council On Emergency Service Issues

Amherstburg wants Essex County Council to re-evaluate emergency services.

The town agreed to approach other communities on issues revolving around patient transport after a presentation by Windsor Essex Emergency Medical Services Chief Bruce Krauter.

Councillor Joan Courtney brought the motion forward when questions were raised about response times and possible coverage gaps that could cost lives. She hopes other councils will support taking the issue to the next level.

"We obviously don't have enough equipment and enough man power to service the needs of Essex County and Windsor. Seeing as this falls under the auspice of Essex County Council," says Courtney. "I felt that we needed a direct approach to let them know exactly how Amherstburg feels."

Krauter told council EMS does it's best to place ambulances in a position for the best response times. But he says the real issue is offloading patients.

"It's been an ongoing issue," he says. "It's the offload delays at the hospitals and it's not just a Windsor issue — it's an issue at Windsor Regional, Met, Ouellette and Leamington District Memorial. "

He tells AM800 News paramedics can't just drop people off and leave — they have to wait for a bed to open up before they can transfer custody and return to their post.

Recently an outbreak of the flu put a real strain on the system, according to Krauter.  

He says, If the hospital's already swamped with patients — transferring custody can be a challenge.

Krauter attributes most of the back log at hospitals to an aging population - he says any plan to ramp up service will have to include dealing with long term care needs to free up beds.

Amherstburg council will be crafting a report for the county in the coming weeks.