Tbnewswatch Local News
Saturday July 4 2015
4:45 PM EDT
2014-01-29 at 16:36

System clogged

Superior North EMS chief Norm Gale speaks with NOMA members Wednesday morning.
Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Superior North EMS chief Norm Gale speaks with NOMA members Wednesday morning.
By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

A pilot project to ease pressure on the region's ambulance system has all the support it needs but no funding yet.

Superior North EMS chief Norm Gale said non-urgent transfers are clogging up the system.

Using paramedics and ambulances to move patients makes emergency response less reliable and difficult for a system that wasn't designed for the duty.

"Frankly we don't do it well," he said.

Private companies, taxis and patients' families have pick up some of the slack but it's not enough.

Gale has a pilot project ready to go that would see non-urgent transfers in the city moved to an alternate system. In the region ambulances would still provide the service when needed.

"This would be much more efficient and much more reliable because these calls would not have to compete with 911 calls and there would be much more reliability in the system," he said after speaking with the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association Wednesday morning. 

The idea has the support from regional hospitals, the Northwest Local Health Integration Network, St. Joseph's Care Group and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. But so far there's no one to cover the estimated $800,000 in 2012 per year in operating costs.

Gale is hoping NOMA brings it to the province's attention when representatives are at the Ontario Good Roads Association meeting next month in Toronto.

"It's a provincial problem and it needs to be addressed," he said.

But the issue has been brought up to the province by NOMA for the past four years. Kenora mayor and NOMA president Dave Canfield said he'll probably be much more direct this time around. Homework has been done, the project is ready and the support is there.

"Fund it, lets see what happens," he said. "I'm going to point right to the minster (of health Deb Matthews) and say 'commit right now. We're not leaving the room 'til you commit'. So we'll see what happens."

Canfield credits the Liberal government with taking on costs downloaded to municipalities in the past. But nearly $1 million, even spread around Northern municipalities, to fund this project is not something the region should have to do.



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hotchoc says:
sduncan. i find one-sided postings bothersome. To suggest the con's in Ottawa are without fault is shocking, but lets stick to the liberals here. I just want to point out some faults with your logic.

Promised to hire more nurses/doctors-did it.
to hire more food inspectors. done
to invest in mass transit-1200 new jobs here enough
gave us a med school, law school.
More highway money then ever
more health services that I can recall

now on the negative
doing some things right on power but not everything
Gas plants. mishandled but all parties were horrible on that
Education-I think they gave the teachers way too much money
ORNGE-idiots for not overseeing the thing and believing the board with conservatives on it, would do a good job

There are other good points and other bad points.

To suggest they are all bad demonstrates your bias. I suspect I will vote for them again given the horrible alternatives but we shall see.

But please. Can you try to be bit objective.
1/30/2014 7:08:23 PM
Papercut says:
@New Democrat

I think what they are refering to is people WHO ARE ON A STRECHER/BED and need non-emergency transport.

A little different than driving to a grocery store.
1/30/2014 9:42:49 AM
REG says:
Hey S Duncan why don't you go ask the veterans how go of a job the cons are doing.
1/30/2014 7:26:05 AM
New Democrat says:
When I drive to work, it's "non-emergency" transportation. When I shop for groceries, it's "non-emergency" transportation. When I have a medical issue and go to the walk-in clinic, it's "non-emergency" transportation. Does anyone see the common thread here?

Non-emergency transportation. Ambulances are for emergencies. Cars, taxis, and buses are for non-emergencies. Why should some people get their transportation subsidized, but I don't? I'm paying for their transportation and mine.

No way. If you want a separate system for non-emergency systems, charge them the same extortionist rate the city taxis do. Or more.
1/30/2014 12:03:20 AM
Heinicke says:
Ambulances are for transferring patients. Patients in the region moving from one facility to another are supposed to get out of the bed, be disconnected from all iv, monitoring and other support mechanisms (catheters, colostomy bag, electrodes) to take taxis from facility to facility? Ok. People already pay $300 for emergency ambulance service, whether they are the ones who call for the ambulance or not.
1/30/2014 3:47:26 AM
Curious says:
Is Trans Amb not already doing this. There is already a company transporting people to and from the hospital, to and from the airport, to and back from medical appts if they are need a gurney.
1/29/2014 9:49:29 PM
Jimmyjames says:
Now I only know what a paramedic friend has told me, but, as far as I understand Ambutrans works 5 or 6 days a week for 10 hours a day. My friend says often throughout the night when there is no ambutrans, the medics get set to the airport, hospital and other nursing homes all the time. Just so you know, as i asked him the same thing thinking ambutrans was always running.
1/30/2014 8:43:03 AM
Curious says:
Thanks for clearing that up for me and others that weren't aware. Might be a good idea then ro get the funding for the two to work together.
1/31/2014 7:15:57 AM
nat.tbay says:
I am curious as to why there is a plan but no plan details. The prior reason for the clog was offload delays at the hospital so how did that change overnight? I would hope we are all given the plan details by all the stakeholders before we commit to lobby for our spend this kind of money!
1/29/2014 9:31:41 PM
tudor says:
One day but unlikely in my lifetime there will be a city issue or challenge that will not be the fault of the Ontario government. Someone making a high six figure salary of City Taxpayer money will stand up and say "we need to solve this" or "this is our fault".

As I said. It is unlikely to happen in my lifetime.

Because right now there is not one challenge facing this city that is not the fault of inadequate funding by the province. No matter how many hundreds of millions or billions come here. Just listen to every public comment by these guys.

it is never enough for these spendaholic leaders.
1/29/2014 8:40:03 PM
ibrando says:
And the province is missing one element....MONEY! Make those that utilize the system for non emergency calls, pay for the service.
1/29/2014 7:06:18 PM
damanisback says:
a retrofitted city bus(and driver) for gurnys and 1 medic for 1 year $800.00 good deal no?
1/29/2014 6:28:10 PM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
Don't worry. With a spring election coming, I'm sure the money will flow soon. It's one of the Liberals favorite tactics of getting votes. The education one just started. Getting the youth vote.
1/29/2014 4:53:39 PM
eyeinthesky75 says:
The liberals wont have to do much to get my vote. I'm done with this Conservative government.
1/29/2014 7:59:30 PM
S Duncan says:
do you realize this comes under the wing of the provincial liberal government, don't you?

The federal Conservatives are doing an excellent job and fulfilling their campaign promises.
1/29/2014 9:37:38 PM
fastball says:
If their election campaign platform included gutting the sciences, whoring out our natural resources and gutting our environment to please foreign oil interests, and leaving WW2 veterans to access their rightfully deserved services with gnarled, arthritic fingers through an app on their smartphone - I'd say the federal NeoCons have succeeded admirably in fulfilling those promises.
1/30/2014 9:57:08 AM
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