Ontario government looking at merging ambulance services

Ontario's Progressive Conservative government says it is looking at merging ambulance services.

In its budget delivered last week, the government says it plans to streamline the way land ambulance dispatch services are delivered by integrating the 59 emergency health services operators and 22 dispatch centres.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says it's about providing quality care and making sure everyone is connected.

“Let me be clear: no paramedic in Ontario will lose their job. Just the opposite. Our government is empowering our great frontline paramedics to improve the already great emergency care they provide each and every day. As we’ve said from the beginning, our government is spending health care dollars where they will do the most good for Ontarians – in frontline care. We’re reinvesting back-office, administrative efficiencies right into improving frontline care.

As we move our modernization agenda forward, we are working directly alongside frontline paramedics and our municipal partners to ensure emergency health services can better meet the needs of Ontario’s communities.

Our government is committed to working directly alongside our health care partners and municipalities as we modernize Ontario’s health care system. This collaboration is ongoing and, as such, it is too early to provide details around figures.” says her spokesperson.

Premier Doug Ford said today that whatever happens, the service will not go down and he guaranteed that Ontario will retain the same number of paramedics.

He says nothing is set in stone, but he wants to look for ways to increase service while saving taxpayers money.

(With files from Canadian Press)