RICHMOND HILL, ON – The Municipality of Chatham-Kent will be adding 12 hours of ambulance coverage per day following SEIU Healthcare’s—a union which represents paramedics in the region—campaign that brought awareness of the community’s need for increased emergency coverage services.
On July 16, Medavie EMS and Chatham-Kent staff recommended to council that they increase service hours with $313,000 in new funding added to the budget for 2018 and approximately $700,000 in additional funding each following year. Council passed the motion unanimously, 18-0.
“We are very pleased that the Municipality of Chatham-Kent has listened to our members’ and their residents’ calls for more emergency coverage in the region,” said SEIU Healthcare President Sharleen Stewart. “As a union committed to improving healthcare, we are elated that the community will now have more access to the immediate help they may need.”
After midnight in Chatham-Kent (population of over 100,000 people), usually only six ambulances are scheduled to cover the seven regions of the municipality, with only one of those ambulances stationed in Chatham (population of over 43,000).
In June and July, SEIU Healthcare ran the “Not in the Budget” campaign (www.notinthebudget.ca), which addressed concerns heard from its paramedic members and residents in Chatham-Kent that the municipality has a lack of ambulances in service. As a part of the campaign, residents contacted Chatham-Kent’s Coordinator of Emergency Medical Services to request more resources for their community.
Chris Stolte, SEIU Healthcare Executive Board Member and Chair of the Paramedics Committee, presented a case for more services during the council meeting.
“This is truly a step in the right direction for the health, safety, and the well-being of the citizens of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and of its paramedics,” said Stolte. “This is the first time in 14 years that the municipality has added an additional ambulance to its fleet. Furthermore, Medavie EMS has committed to council to work with SEIU Healthcare and its members on any further consultations regarding service enhancements when reviewed.”
Since the last addition of a new ambulance in 2004, the senior population has increased by 24% and the amount of service calls has increased by 39%.
The hours added will be achieved by hiring four new full-time positions. Council also recommended that Medavie EMS and Chatham-Kent staff monitor the situation to ensure the new time is enough to solve the coverage shortage.
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. The union’s members work in hospitals, homecare, nursing and retirement homes, and community services throughout the province. SEIU Healthcare has a strong track record of improving wages, benefits and working conditions for healthcare workers, supporting the training and development needs of its members, and strengthening standards in the management and delivery of patient and client care. www.seiuhealthcare.ca
SOURCE SEIU Healthcare
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