SD&G paramedics respond to fewer Ottawa calls under proposed deal

(Newswatch Group/File)

OTTAWA – A tentative deal with three rural paramedic services would see those emergency health care workers responding to fewer calls in Ottawa.

Former Cornwall EMS Chief Myles Cassidy – fresh on the job as the paramedic chief in the capital — reached the deal late last month with the three rural services, which includes Cornwall-SDG Paramedic Services. The other two are Renfrew County and Prescott-Russell.

The plan would see paramedics only respond to Ottawa calls if there’s a cardiac arrest or an unconscious person.

There had been complaints rural paramedics were rushing into the city for cases that weren’t necessarily serious in nature, taking them away from their home base.

CBC News cited the Renfrew paramedic chief, estimating the new deal would reduce their Ottawa calls from 370 last year to around 15 a year.

Up until now, the framework has seen ambulances closest to Ottawa respond to calls in the city, if there were no other ambulances available in the city.

Now, the Ottawa Paramedic Service would have to call directly for backup in serious cases.

The deal still needs to be approved by each individual municipal council (Cornwall city council is the service provider for EMS in SD&G) and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

The plan is to have the new system in place by October.