The lack of ambulances on the road in Quebec is such that paramedics say they no longer have time to eat or disinfect their equipment and fear losing lives. Their union estimates that at least 10 ambulances should be added every day to the 35 currently available in the capital region.
Last Friday, around 5 p.m., calls to the center increased, but there was no ambulance available, said the vice-president of the Association of Prehospital Workers (ATPH), affiliated with the CSN. , Ariane Bernier.
A “priority one” call was added (when the person’s life is threatened), but there was still no ambulance. A crew that had finished its shift was called back. No one was available either when a call came from Île d’Orléans. Then, again following a “priority one” call in the Saint-Jean-Baptiste district. “This call was assigned only ten minutes later,” said M.me Bernier, with anger on his face, during a press conference Monday morning.
Paramedic teams in the greater Quebec region were used at 128% of their capacity last year, according to data from the Ministry of Health provided by the union.
However, to be functional and have the necessary room for maneuver, we should not exceed the ratio of 90%, explained Frédéric Maheux, president of the ATPH. “This is unheard of,” he said, emphasizing that he had been doing this work for twenty years. “It’s terrible. »
No labor shortage
Quebec paramedics are not the only ones lacking resources. The Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, was welcomed by a demonstration of paramedics at the beginning of November during her visit to Sherbrooke.
The show team Investigation also documented long delays in Dessercom services on the South Shore in the Quebec City region, which led to the death of a paramedic waiting for a vehicle.
In Quebec, the majority of services are not delivered by Dessercom, but by the Cooperative of Ambulance Technicians of Quebec, with whom paramedics say they have no conflict. The problem, they insist, is that the Ministry of Health refuses to finance the addition of hours.
They are asking for between 35,000 and 40,000 more, the equivalent of 10 to 15 more teams per day, in addition to the 35 they already have.
It is not a question of labor shortage either, warned the president of the Central Council of Québec-Chaudière-Appalaches for the CSN, Barbara Poirier.