Niagara MPP worried after Fort Erie senior told ambulance would take six-hours to get to her

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Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates shared a story of a local senior at Queen's Park today.

Gates says a Fort Erie senior named Shirley pressed her 'lifeline' button after falling and was told it would take six hours for an ambulance to arrive.

“Workers are doing everything they can, but this government has ignored their pleas for more resources and, in fact, cut health care resources. Mr. Speaker, to the Premier: Is the Premier proud that, under his watch, residents who dial 911 have to wait six hours for an ambulance?”

Gates says he raised the issue six months ago and that paramedics continued to be over-run and under resourced.

He also says taxi drivers should not be responding to emergency calls.

 “Shirley was able to get hold of her daughter-in-law who herself is fighting cancer. Thankfully, her daughter came to her house and cancelled the ambulance. Despite this, a taxi showed up at her house five hours later. The taxi was dispatched to take them to the hospital. I raised this issue back in February. Just days ago, the Premier said very clearly that health care was just fine. Once again, is the Premier proud that, under his watch, residents are getting taxis five hours later instead of emergency care that this government is supposed to provide? Also, I want to be very clear: Taxi drivers in the province of Ontario are not paramedics,” said Gates.

Niagara EMS says they did not dispatch any taxis in that area in that time and "the description of this call would not fit the criteria to send a taxi. We are connecting with the patient, Mr. Gates and Lifeline to learn more and discuss what happened."

Niagara Emergency Medical Services has launched a program that is dispatching taxi cabs rather than ambulances to some calls, to relieve pressure on paramedics and ERs.

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