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2014-01-10 at 11:31

Take control

Superior North EMS chief Norm Gale intends on Monday to ask city council to begin the process of asking the province to shift control of the dispatch centre to his operation, similar to agreements in Toronto and Ottawa.
Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
Superior North EMS chief Norm Gale intends on Monday to ask city council to begin the process of asking the province to shift control of the dispatch centre to his operation, similar to agreements in Toronto and Ottawa.
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By Leith Dunicak, tbnewswatch.com

Norm Gale wants the Superior North EMS to follow the lead of communities such as Toronto, Ottawa and Niagara and take operational control of its dispatch service.

Superior North EMS chief Norm Gale on Monday intends to ask council to begin the process and seek permission from the province to begin the transformation, which he said will have zero financial impact on operations.

The province funds dispatch centres across Ontario, but has slowly begun allowing a number of communities to take the reins.

Gale said his biggest concern is the methodology of the present system.

“It routinely over-prioritizes EMS calls,” Gale said, stressing patient health is not compromised under either the present system or the one he’s proposing.

In some areas of the province, under the tiered-response system, dispatchers routinely assign up to 80 per cent of calls as life threatening, when in reality only 10 to 15 per cent of calls actually are.

“It would frankly eliminate operational barriers and allow us to investigate different triage tools. Such a regimen would be done with full funding by the province.”

According to the report Gale plans to deliver Monday night, the system as it stands effects Superior North EMS’s ability to deliver effective and responsive paramedic services, it limits opportunity to make system improvements locally or proactively address operational issues in real time.

There is also no performance agreement or accountability framework set up to dispatch paramedics or strategically place ambulances in anticipation of the next call.

Across Ontario there are 22 land-based EMS dispatch centres in Ontario, with 11 operated directly by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

Thunder Bay’s dispatch centre is responsible for handling calls throughout the District of Thunder Bay, the service area covered by Superior North EMS.

Should the province hand over control of the dispatch centre, Gale said continued efficiencies with police and fire rescue will be sought.

Tbnewswatch.com(9)

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Comments

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jonthunder says:
Bottom line is will this be guaranteed to be safer than the current dispatch system? The gentleman is saying too may calls now, about 80% are categorized as life-threatening only 10 to 15% should be categorized as life-threatening. Could we be going from one extreme to the other; if we are to err on the side of caution I know which I would prefer.
1/10/2014 12:23:38 PM
averagejoe says:
Norm Gale is trying to place blame on dispatch for his own empty promises.

Years ago, Norm promised the taxpayers of this city that a new, multi-million dollar SNEMS headquarters on Junot would decrease response times and be more efficient. In fact, since the station was built, response times have been steadily worsening.

Niagara spent several years and several million dollars setting up their own communications service. Make no mistake, this change will not be free. Taxpayers will foot the bill, again.

Good luck Norm, you can fool some of the people some of the time.
1/13/2014 2:07:55 PM
S Duncan says:
Norm wants to continue building his little empire.
1/10/2014 12:53:42 PM
Curious says:
You may be correct, but if you have ever needed an ambulance, you may think differently after that experience. I could not believe the hassle - questions wasting time, what street - spell it please - what is the closest intersection - on and on - especially when you are close to the EMS bldg or on a well known common street - to everyone that lives and works here. I think that can be alleviated by having someone answering here that know the city and with GPS you don't need to give so much detail, just enter the address and you are taken rite there.
1/10/2014 5:51:27 PM
averagejoe says:
The dispatchers are just asking those questions to verify your location. They dispatch the entire Thunder Bay district, not just the city.

Also, the dispatch centre is in Thunder Bay, on James St.
1/11/2014 12:53:43 PM
livewire says:
Pass the Buck again. City should look at this with a fine comb and have an escape clause.
1/10/2014 5:43:11 PM
progress now says:
I hope he gets a lot more specific with council because the case is not made here.
1/10/2014 6:54:52 PM
ou812 says:
If someone was threatening me with a knife and I was behind a high counter and there were many other people working and shopping at a store I would call 911 promptly. Thats why these people continue to rob these places, they know people are too passive about it. Employees should be like my grandmother and have a big old Louisville Slugger behind the desk. That robber would be bye-bye.
1/10/2014 7:07:05 PM
tbaynorth says:
Interesting that he wants to have control over the dispatch system (CACC) that the province implemented to ensure accountability with the service providers. They control all ambulance movements and ensure standards are met. What will happen if the service provider is just being accountable for itself? Hopefully not like ORNGE. We need more info on how this could work in the best interest of the taxpayer, including why SNEMS is not making this work with CACC without taking over.
1/10/2014 9:15:15 PM
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