Thanks to Ontario’s Ford Government, Could Niagara Lose its Own Ambulance Dispatch Service – Again!

It Was Only Two Decades Ago – After Hard Lobbying – That Niagara Finally Got It’s Vital Ambulance Dispatch Services Back

Some Breaking News from CBC with Brief Commentary from Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

Posted April 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

According to a news report this April 16th on CBC Radio, CBC reporters have learned that Ontario’s Ford government is now considering plans to merge 59 ambulance services across the province (and Niagara’s regional government now operates one of those 59 services into just 10 for all of Ontario.

One of Niagara Region’s ambulances. Will Niagara again lose locally based emergency dispatch services for our paramedics?

“The Ford government intends to merge the 59 local ambulance services in Ontario into just 10, CBC News as learned,” reads the report that CBC posted online, shortly after 10 a.m. this April 14th.

“The plan is hinted at in the budget tabled last week by Finance Minister Vic Fedeli, with a passing reference to “integrating emergency health services into Ontario’s health care system,” the CBC report continues.  “The government will streamline the way land ambulance dispatch services are delivered by better integrating Ontario’s 59 emergency health services operators and 22 dispatch centres,” says the document, without providing details.”

This news should be worrisome to residents across Niagara because it was just two decades ago that Niagara’s regional government had to lobby like hell to get the then Ontario government of Mike Harris (the current Premier Doug Ford’s old friend and mentor) to give the region back its own ambulance dispatch service after merging it with one in Hamilton years earlier.

While the dispatch calls were being handled for Niagara out of Hamilton, there were reported cases of ambulances in the Niagara area being dispatched to wrong addresses – sometimes to a street with the same name in a different municipality than the one where the emergency call had been made.

Concerns were raised at the time that patients might die while waiting for an ambulance heading to the wrong location because dispatchers from outside of the Niagara area were not familiar with the lay of the land here.

After the Niagara’s regional government, under then Chairwoman Debbie Zimmerman, were finally able to get a dispatch services back in Niagara, there was a marked improvement in the response times of paramedic services here, and the region’s paramedic team was winning national recognition for the quality of service s in this region compared to many others.

Now – thanks to a plan that Ford and members of his Tory caucus never discussed with constituents across the province during last year’s election – Niagara may be facing the possibility of losing control of this critical, life-and-death service again.

Niagara At Large has contacted Niagara’s regional government for any statement it may release on this development.

We will be sure to update you on this matter if we hear any more from regional or provincial representatives, or find out more about what our so-called “Government for the People’ at Queen’s Park has in store for us next.

Stay Tuned.

To read the brief report posted by CBC News, click on – https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/doug-ford-ambulance-paramedic-merger-emergency-health-1.5099773 .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.