Richmond Hill, Ontario — A third-party consultant has completed a review requested by the County of Lambton Council after paramedics raised concerns. As a result of the review, which included both data and interviews of frontline paramedics, senior staff are recommending the County add one additional ambulance and 12 more hours of coverage, which would result in the hiring of four new full-time paramedics. This recommendation will be presented to council on Wednesday, April 6, 2022.
When approved, this will be the first paramedic staffing increase in the County of Lambton since 2004. Current County paramedics, and their union SEIU Healthcare, have been advocating for a coverage increase since 2018, but their calls for help have gone ignored by County management.
After several outreaches on the issue to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley and Lambton County Councillors in 2020 and early 2021, SEIU Healthcare and the County of Lambton paramedics they represent filed a complaint with the Council and took their ask for help to the media. This resulted in the County of Lambton hiring Performance Concepts, a third-party consulting firm, to do an investigation into the potential need for more ambulance coverage in the area, particularly in Sarnia.
The resulting report found that the County of Lambton paramedics are meeting their targets. Management praised the paramedics for maintaining such a high level of service to the public, particularly during such a challenging time. The paramedics know that this level of service has only been maintained at great expense to their mental health, while meals and other breaks are often missed creating a direct threat to their health and safety.
“After many years, we are pleased to see the County of Lambton finally making the long-overdue request to increase their paramedic coverage to meet the growing demands of their aging population,” said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare. “This is a positive first step to protecting our paramedics and the people of Lambton. Moving forward, we look forward to other recommendations being followed up on that include real data to assess gaps in emergency coverage and utilization hours and looks ahead to future needs to ensure both the paramedics and community are supported appropriately.”
SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 healthcare and community service workers across Ontario. As a strong voice of paramedics across Ontario, from Kapuskasing to Lambton, the union is dedicated to supporting the profession and raising the unique issues they face. www.seiuhealthcare.ca