Modifications to the ambulance operations

L’Orignal, May 23, 2018 – During its monthly meeting held this morning, Council of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) directed the Emergency Services department to modify its ambulance operations with respect to calls received outside of the territory – and this, in order to protect the quality and frequency of services for residents of Prescott and Russell.

Subsequent to legal advice received by the UCPR – and in an attempt to maintain appropriate land ambulance resources within Prescott and Russell – the Emergency Services department will now direct its paramedics to remove the availability of their vehicles once they have discharged a patient at a hospital outside of the region. This will render the vehicle unavailable to dispatch, until such time as the paramedics have traveled back to Prescott and Russell.

Once back in the Counties’ area of service, the ambulance and crew will be made available to dispatch. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will be advised that this change will take effect within the next 60 days.

“As we have repeatedly stressed over the last two years, our land ambulance services continue to face significant challenges as a result of other municipalities – namely, the City of Ottawa – failing to meet their own required resources and respond to their own service demands,” stated UCPR Warden François St-Amour. “The ongoing and irresponsible use of our ambulances to serve the City of Ottawa is both a financial and an operational issue, which leads to an increase in response times and a significant lack of resources, contrary to the Ambulance Act.”

It should be recalled that since 2016, the UCPR has responded to a rapidly-increasing number of calls from outside its territory – a doubling in volume since 2015 – which has placed significant pressure on the ability to meet the requirements for response times, and increased security risks on residents of the UCPR. Other services require agreements for mutual aid support for abnormal emergency crises, which is a very functional and responsible practice.

“Our neighbours in Ottawa maintain their refusal to enter into an agreement for cost recuperation, as is done in many other areas of the Province – and which is permitted by provincial legislation,” explained Michel Chrétien, Emergency Services Director for the UCPR. “Furthermore, the Ministry continues to direct the dispatch centre to use the UCPR’s ambulances to respond to calls outside of our community, without any consideration of the impact to our residents.”
Outside view of a Prescott and Russell ambulance and stretcher