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Petition and Information on Caledon Paramedic Services

UPDATE July 17th, 2018: CALEDON ENTERPRISE 3 PART ARTICLE ON THE PARAMEDIC CHANGES IN CALEDON

PART 1: Caledon’s paramedics shift to Brampton under new Peel paramedic service model

PART 2: Caledon’s councillors support new Peel paramedic system

PART 3: Peel paramedic union expresses concern for Caledon

FOLLOW UP INTERVIEW: UPDATE: Peel paramedic union president says critique of fellow union members “uninformed”

UPDATED: A request has been made for a Public Information Centre so that Caledon residents are better informed with the changes happening with the Paramedics services in 2019. If and when the PIC is scheduled the time and date will be posted here so please check back. 

A recent on-line petition, started by Laurie Raynard, asks for signatures to have Caledon’s paramedics to remain in Caledon. For more information about the move of Caledon paramedics to Mississauga and Brampton provided in the petition click HERE.

Although in an email to Councillor Groves on July 5th, 2018, Peter F. Dundas, Chief & Director, Peel Regional Paramedic Services says we will see no change in the service, some paramedics and dispatchers strongly disagree.

Region of Peel FACT SHEET on the Caledon Paramedic Services Changes http://www.peelregion.ca/paramedics/ask/caledon-changes.htm

The information below has been posted to provide information on the changes that will be happening January 1st, 2019 through Facebook posts, emails and conversations by the Mayor, councillors, the Chief & Director Peel Regional Paramedic Services, Commissioner of Health Services, paramedics and a dispatcher.

(July 12 2018) Regional Council Meeting

At Regional Council today Barb Shaughnessy raised the issue of Paramedic services in Caledon and with support of Councillor Annette Groves brought forth a motion that Regional staff report back in  September answering the following concerns:

  1. Caledon Specific Response Times for Paramedic services,
  2. Caledon Deployment Plan,
  3. Statistics on services provided by Adjoining Municipalities in Caledon.

This motion passed with full support of Regional Council.

Letter from Chief Peter Dundas on Paramedic Services Changes 

I am proud to say that Peel Regional Paramedic Services currently provides excellent emergency medical care to the residents of Caledon.

That won’t change any time soon. Even when we change the way we run our business.

In January, there will be a change in our service model. Paramedics who currently report to work at small stations in Caledon Village and Bolton will report to a larger station in Brampton. That doesn’t mean Caledon will have fewer paramedics on the road. It means paramedics will need to drive further to get to work.

Our new service model is designed to get paramedics on the road faster at the beginning of their shifts. Technicians, not paramedics, will clean and restock the ambulances. We need medics on the road in case you need them.

Our stations in Bolton, Caledon East, Valleywood and Caledon Village will continue to be part of the system. Like today, these stations are places where paramedics can complete their paperwork or take a much-needed break.

And just like today, the residents of Caledon will always be protected. But in the new model, Caledon will be prioritized over other areas. For example, the first two ambulances that start at 5:30 a.m. every day will be assigned to Caledon. They will replace the ambulances in Caledon that will be coming off shift at 7 a.m. This approach will happen again with the night shift. These ideas are being developed in collaboration with our union partners.

Regional council endorsed this new centralized model for Peel in late 2007 to improve response times to emergency calls and optimize costs for taxpayers. As planned, the model has been systematically introduced over the last 10 years. The construction of the new Bolton station and changes to where paramedics report to work is the last step in this plan.

This has been a long journey. The 24 paramedics serving Caledon are among the last of our almost 600-paramedic workforce to shift to the new model. I recognize change is hard, especially for those that have built relationships within the community. We will continue to keep these staff members updated as changes are introduced.

Peter Dundas

Chief, Peel Regional Paramedic Services

(July 11 2018) I posed the question below to a paramedic who asked to remain anonymous: 

Do you agree with the changes happening with the paramedics in Caledon?

I’m 100% against it, during shift change there will be gaps & ambulances will ultimately be coming from farther distances. This is a ridiculous risk that is being taken, I know that most of the time our calls aren’t as serious as they initially sound, but there are still times when seconds/minutes make a difference.

This whole centralized delivery model that they have been working on over the last ten years is a total waste of money. Before, the medics had to do the calls and clean & restock the ambulances. Now technicians are being paid to do a job that was once done by us. 2-4 technicians at each mega base for every 12 hour shift 365 days a year 24 hours a day. That’s a lot of extra tax payer money being wasted IMO. Sure it looks great from a logistical point of view but not worth the money spent. Plus medics now drive a lot more back & forth from reporting station to satellite station & vice versa. This means more gas being wasted and more kilometres on the trucks which leads to more maintenance required. Also they had to increase the # of ambulances in the fleet by a third of what we used to have. So that clean & stocked trucks would be available at the mega stations when the dirty ones were not available because they have to wait to be cleaned by technicians. At $150,000 a piece not including equipment…. Such a waste of money. Plus they built 3 extra megastations IMO. Not sure how much they cost but a satellite station is around 2 million.

If you look at how York region runs their system you will see that it is the gold standard. They only have one mega base. Once a month every truck gets cycled through the mega base, the crew will switch onto a spare truck and go back out into the community. They leave their truck at the mega base where technicians will deep clean it, restock anything that might have been missed by the medics, do maintenance on the truck and equipment. Then when it’s ready again the medics will come back and pick it up. In between the monthly visits to the mega stations the crews will clean and restock they’re ambulances as needed and work out of their local community bases such as Nobleton, Schomberg, Woodbridge, etc… Way more cost efficient and no risks to the public. The way it should be

(July, 10 2018) An email was sent to Peter F. Dundas, Chief & Director, Peel Regional Paramedic Services and the Commissioner of Health Services asking about a Central Paramedic Reporting Station in Caledon. The email and response are below:

The email:

I understand the need for technicians to restock and clean ambulances so that paramedics can be on the road responding to calls and not having to do it themselves and I do support it. What I can not understand is why other municipalities have their own Central Paramedic Reporting Station i.e. Brampton, Mississauga etc. and Caledon is left without one? 

With the surface area of Caledon I think it’s imperative that Caledon has it’s own Central Paramedic Reporting Station with it’s own supervisor. The Caledon East station would be perfect for this as it is central to all of Caledon. Now I know they may say it was never built for that, but maybe it can be modified for it.

Please see if you can get some answers on this as I think it’s something that every Caledon resident would like to know.

Mira Budd

The response:

At this time call demand in Caledon does not support the need for a Reporting Station like we have in the Brampton Area, or something a little smaller. This does not preclude our ability to build in the future when call demand meets this need.

A reporting station needs 20 or more ambulances to be processed through it every day to make it efficient and effective investment of capital infrastructure and resources.

Regards,

Peter F. Dundas, BAS

Chief & Director, Peel Regional Paramedic Services

Health Services, Region of Peel

1600 Bovaird Dr. E., Brampton, ON L6R 3S8

Phone – (905) 791 7800, ext. 3921

Peter.Dundas@peelregion.ca

Sofia Castrechino who dispatches Caledon states (July 5th 2018 Facebook Comment):

“I am a dispatcher in Mississauga and I dispatch Caledon, I am very aware that moving these trucks to the city will be very dangerous to the people of Caledon. Getting a truck up to Caledon or Bolton for coverage at the end or beginning of shift will be difficult if not impossible due to Peel deployment and call volume.”

Dave McIntosh a Caledon paramedic states (July 5th 2018 Facebook Comment):

“I would like to share my views and opinions at risk of retribution. Let me first say in full transparency that I am a paramedic who reports to work in Caledon. I have done so since the downloading of ambulance services to municipalities in 2001 and my collegues and I have spent 18 years building a rapport with this area in order to provide exceptionally fast and thorough service to the towns residents. I also have family that lives in Caledon. The plan to take paramedics from their stations WILL greatly and adversely affect the town residents. With all due respect to PRPS management, their response and description of how the truck movement will work it is simply incorrect. I work in the system. I work in the Town of Caledon. Residence should be VERY worried about this change. I do not intend to debate the Chief’s response (due to retaliation i have experienced in the past) but the accuracy of the information in it (what will happen when Caledon medics are relocated) is completely inaccurate and hypothetical at best. It is unthinkable to me in this age that leaders will mislead those they serve in order to accomplish a goal. The removal of paramedics from the town of caledon has been hotly discussed amongst medics, town residents, and dispatchers for several years. The dispatchers are the ultimate experts in truck movement and deployment effectiveness. Each and ever dispatcher that I have spoken to about this issue unanimously say the town of caledon will be left “uncovered’ for extended periods of time due solely to the new central deployment system. Sherri Brioschi you are completely correct. If anyone wishes more expert information i would be happy to put you in touch with any number of dispatchers who will tell you what is currently occurring with those ambulances already removed and in the system. Ambulances will not make it into caledon for coverage in a timely manner. It is already occurring for general coverage issues. When several dispatcher during a recent training session with peel regional management staff all informed one of the managers that caledon will be left uncovered for extended periods of time daily the exact response from that manager was “that is a risk we are willing to accept 100% of the time”! This is shockingly dangerous. My focus is to save lives and help people. I cannot accept that response from someone who is charges with keeping Caledon safe. It would be unacceptable in the municipality i live in and I simply do no want this misinformation to be spread in Email responses such as these. If this is as benign a move as Chief Dundas would like you to believe (though I fail to see any evidence in his response) then request a round table, a forum so that everyone might have their say free of fear of retaliation. The information that would be presented may shock you.”

Email to Councillor Groves from Peter F. Dundas, Chief & Director, Peel Regional Paramedic Services (July 5th 2018):

Councillor Groves

In follow up to our conversation last week I am providing a summary of what changes will take place as we move to our new Divisional model for the delivery of Paramedic Services later this year.

First I can assure you that under our new model, residents of Caledon will continue to receive the same level of service when they need an ambulance as they get today. I know there have been rumours in the community about this not being the case and they are simply not true.

Many in the community think that Fire Services and Peel Paramedics operate the same way. They do not. Fire Services are fixed – they stay at a base until a call comes in, they go to the call, do what is required and then return to the same base to wait for the next call. Paramedic services in any community is fluid just like police. We are assigned a call and transport to a hospital (if required). We are then assigned to another call or a location to wait for a call, perhaps never getting back to our originating base until end of shift.

Just like the OPP, paramedics in the new model will start work at a central reporting station. For Caledon, paramedics will drive to one of two reporting stations in Brampton, one near Brampton Civic or the other near Mississauga Road and Steeles Avenue. There the paramedics meet with their supervisor for 7 minutes and then have 10 minutes to get their belongings and pick up a fully-stocked vehicle prepared by skilled technicians. They will then be assigned into the community on a call or to cover an area while waiting for a call. Our new model gets paramedics on the road faster because they no longer have to do non-medical work like cleaning and restocking vehicles.

Currently, paramedics drive their personal vehicles to the Bolton or Caledon Village stations. Once they arrive they have 30 minutes to clean, stock and maintain their own vehicle before they start taking calls. Once a call or location assignment comes in the paramedics leave the station with no guarantee that they come back to that base until the end of their shift.

Like the OPP there are multiple shift start times to ensure seamless coverage across the Region – there are no gaps. Our deployment plan ensures that a vehicle is sent into an area to make sure it’s covered well before the end of a previous shift.

That said I cannot guarantee that coverage will always be maintained in anyarea in Peel. We never know when a large-scale incident could occur that will pull resources to save lives. Our deployment plan does address situations when resources are depleted. We have mutually agreed coverage in place with our neighbouring Paramedic Services that allow them to serve medical emergencies in our areas and us to serve them when resourcing becomes stretched.

I hope this answers your questions. Please reach out if you have any other questions.

Peter

Peter F. Dundas, BAS

Chief & Director, Peel Regional Paramedic Services

Health Services, Region of Peel

1600 Bovaird Dr. E., Brampton, ON L6R 3S8

Phone – (905) 791 7800, ext. 3921

Peter.Dundas@peelregion.ca

A message from Councillor Johanna Downey, Ward 2 Regional Councillor with a response from Nancy Polsinelli Commissioner of Health Services July 8th 2018:

Good evening, a long and eventful summer weekend is wrapping up for many of us; I have heard from a number of residents this weekend concerns over paramedics and dispatch reform. The new program being rolled out in 2019 was approved by Regional Council. I supported the initiative then and continue to support that decision in the best interest of the community.

The following is a summary of the concerns and resolutions from the Regional commissioner of Health Services:

I write to give some information about our divisional paramedic model in response to a petition that is circulating in Caledon.

In this model, which starts in Caledon in the New Year, the residents of Caledon will receive the same level of service that they receive now. This model is being implemented to get paramedics on the road and into the community faster. This model was recommended for the Region of Peel by consultants, refined over the last several years to meet the needs of our changing community, and supported by Peel Regional Council.

What’s happening?

All Peel Regional Paramedics will, by the New Year, start and end their shifts at one of four central paramedic reporting stations located in Brampton and Mississauga.

Will this affect service? What about in rural areas of Peel?

Residents of Peel, including those living in rural areas, will continue to receive the same level of service as they get today when they need an ambulance.

Why are we making this change?

This model allows paramedics to get into the community faster. Central reporting stations have skilled technicians responsible for stocking the ambulances and having them ready to go. Those same technicians do other non-medical work like cleaning and restocking ambulances. In non-centralized models, paramedics are required to do these non-medical tasks, limiting their time in the community.

In this model, paramedics meet with their supervisor at the start of their shift, providing time to share information and for a mental health check-in, and then they have 10 minutes to get their belongings and pick up a fully-stocked ambulance prepared by technicians. They will then be assigned to a 911 call, or assigned to cover an area while waiting for a call. Our model gets paramedics into the community faster because they no longer have to do non-medical work like cleaning and restocking vehicles. Satellite stations in Caledon will remain active as places where paramedics can get supplies and wait for calls.

How will paramedics serve rural Caledon if paramedics start their shifts in Brampton?

Paramedic services in any community are fluid just like police. Paramedics are either assigned to a 911 call, or to a location to wait for a call. This model ensures we know where our ambulances are at all times and are able to have ambulances throughout our entire geographic area. Unlike fire services, paramedics do not wait at central reporting stations until a call comes in, instead, they fan out across the entire Region of Peel to ensure they can respond to calls quickly, regardless of where that call may be. In this way, paramedics are like police, with vehicles located throughout the Region, ready to respond.

Like the OPP there are multiple shift start times to ensure seamless coverage across the Region – there are no gaps. Our deployment plan ensures that an ambulance is sent into an area to make sure it’s covered well before the end of the previous shift.

How is this different from the old model?

Currently, paramedics drive their personal vehicles to one of the stations in Caledon. Once they arrive they have 30 minutes to clean, stock and maintain their own ambulance before they could start being assigned to 911 calls, or assigned to a location to wait. In centralized paramedic reporting stations non-medical work like stocking, cleaning and restocking will be done by centralized, skilled technicians, allowing paramedics to get on the road and into the community faster. It also ensures there are ambulances available at the start of their shift. In non-central models, smaller stations may have limited ambulances if they are all active at the time of shift change. This model also allows paramedics to share information directly with their supervisor.

How does the model operate when an emergency occurs that requires a large number of active paramedics to respond?

Our deployment plan does address situations when resources are depleted any where across the Region of Peel. We have mutually agreed coverage in place with our neighbouring Paramedic Services (e.g. Dufferin and York Region) that allow them to serve medical emergencies in our areas and us to serve them when resourcing.

Thank you,
Nancy

Nancy Polsinelli
Commissioner of Health Services
10 Peel Centre Drive
Brampton, ON L6T 4B9
Telephone: 905-791-7800 ext. 4901
Email: Nancy.Polsinelli@peelregion.ca

In a Facebook Post Paramedic Dave McIntosh replied to the Commissioners  response (July 9th 2018):

I and my collegues work front line everyday in the system. paramedics, dispatchers… and we use the tools given to us by people like the Chief and supported by Ms. Polsinelli and we are telling them it does not work. so now a Commissioner of health who sits in an office and does not see what we see as we use this tool is telling us this will work? utterly ridiculous. Lets buy faulty guns for police and just convince them they work! Lets build Long Term Care facilities with 1900 technology and tell them its state of the art. Lets put fire trucks on the road with no brakes and convince them that they will work when they need them to. I am absolutely stunned by any public servant who when a serious concern is raised doesn’t even want to explore the issue in case they missed something! utterly stunning. Ms. Polsinelli….the plan is a disaster! 100 million dollars spent and its a wreck. but what do I know…I don’t have a nice office to work in…just and old ambulance…and now I will go and check its brakes! ridiculous.

In a Facebook post Mayor Allan Thompson responded by saying (July 9, 2018):

The safety and best interests of our Caledon residents is always my top priority.

Last week I had a meeting with the Region of Peel Commissioner of Health Services and conversations with the Chief of the Peel Regional Paramedic Services.

I shared both my questions and concerns and the questions and concerns I had heard from the engaged and caring residents in Caledon.

I asked for a status and update and expect to have something official out later today.

Let me be clear. I will never support anything that comprises the safety of the residents of Caledon.

Councillor Barb Shaughnessy‘s discussion with the Region of Peel today as posted on her Facebook page (July 9th 2018)

I discussed resident concerns today at the Region of Peel. This is what I learned.

Operational changes to occur in New Year. Process has been worked on before 2007 and has been tweaked along way… Paramedic’s Union has been part of that process. It will continue to evolve.

Understand need to address resident Concerns that Ambulance will not be there when they need them… made certain to point out vast geographic size of Caledon relative to other areas in Peel.

A Further Update addressing Caledon concerns will be coming.

Confirmed Dispatch protocol will remain unchanged. Service levels to be maintained.

Region Recognizes need to work harder to assist in transition with Caledon Paramedics.

Satellite Stations will continue to be used as rest / restocking islands. Vehicles currently seldom at station as out on calls.

Health of Paramedics has been a priority of concern specifically Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A change in system allows for more fluidity in shift scheduling and emergency overtime. Having common shift starting points allows for better communication, more opportunity for supervisors and staff to interact.

Peel Paramedics spent more time in York Region over the weekend than anywhere else.

A message from Councillor Jennifer Innis, Ward 3/4 Regional Councillor with a response from Nancy Polsinelli Commissioner of Health Services July 8th 2018:

A recent online petition regarding Peel Paramedic Services in Caledon is currently circulating.

As such, I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that the residents of Caledon will receive the same level of service that they receive today when the new divisional paramedic model is implemented in Caledon, in the New Year.

As your Regional Councillor, I meet with Regional Staff and receive regular updates regarding paramedic services in Wards 3 & 4, which includes response times. And, I will continue to do so.

I have full confidence in Chief Peter Dundas and his team of highly skilled professionals to lead Caledon, Brampton and Mississauga through this transition in the best interest of care for our residents across Peel.

Below is a response from the Region’s Commissioner of Health Services to some concerns raised by the online petition:

In this model, which starts in Caledon in the New Year, the residents of Caledon will receive the same level of service that they receive now. This model is being implemented to get paramedics on the road and into the community faster. This model was recommended for the Region of Peel by consultants, refined over the last several years to meet the needs of our changing community, and supported by Peel Regional Council.

What’s happening?

All Peel Regional Paramedics will, by the New Year, start and end their shifts at one of four central paramedic reporting stations located in Brampton and Mississauga.

Will this affect service? What about in rural areas of Peel?

Residents of Peel, including those living in rural areas, will continue to receive the same level of service as they get today when they need an ambulance.

Why are we making this change?

This model allows paramedics to get into the community faster. Central reporting stations have skilled technicians responsible for stocking the ambulances and having them ready to go. Those same technicians do other non-medical work like cleaning and restocking ambulances. In non-centralized models, paramedics are required to do these non-medical tasks, limiting their time in the community.

In this model, paramedics meet with their supervisor at the start of their shift, providing time to share information and for a mental health check-in, and then they have 10 minutes to get their belongings and pick up a fully-stocked ambulance prepared by technicians. They will then be assigned to a 911 call, or assigned to cover an area while waiting for a call. Our model gets paramedics into the community faster because they no longer have to do non-medical work like cleaning and restocking vehicles. Satellite stations in Caledon will remain active as places where paramedics can get supplies and wait for calls.

How will paramedics serve rural Caledon if paramedics start their shifts in Brampton?

Paramedic services in any community are fluid just like police. Paramedics are either assigned to a 911 call, or to a location to wait for a call. This model ensures we know where our ambulances are at all times and are able to have ambulances throughout our entire geographic area. Unlike fire services, paramedics do not wait at central reporting stations until a call comes in, instead, they fan out across the entire Region of Peel to ensure they can respond to calls quickly, regardless of where that call may be. In this way, paramedics are like police, with vehicles located throughout the Region, ready to respond.

Like the OPP there are multiple shift start times to ensure seamless coverage across the Region – there are no gaps. Our deployment plan ensures that an ambulance is sent into an area to make sure it’s covered well before the end of the previous shift.

How is this different from the old model?

Currently, paramedics drive their personal vehicles to one of the stations in Caledon. Once they arrive they have 30 minutes to clean, stock and maintain their own ambulance before they could start being assigned to 911 calls, or assigned to a location to wait. In centralized paramedic reporting stations non-medical work like stocking, cleaning and restocking will be done by centralized, skilled technicians, allowing paramedics to get on the road and into the community faster. It also ensures there are ambulances available at the start of their shift. In non-central models, smaller stations may have limited ambulances if they are all active at the time of shift change. This model also allows paramedics to share information directly with their supervisor.

How does the model operate when an emergency occurs that requires a large number of active paramedics to respond?

Our deployment plan does address situations when resources are depleted any where across the Region of Peel. We have mutually agreed coverage in place with our neighbouring Paramedic Services (e.g. Dufferin and York Region) that allow them to serve medical emergencies in our areas and us to serve them when resourcing becomes stretched.

Fact Sheet from the Region of Peel http://www.peelregion.ca/paramedics/ask/caledon-changes.htm

TO SIGN THE PETITION!

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3 Comments »

  1. I cannot fathom why the commissoner of health nancy polsinell would reiteral an absolute lie about how caledon paramedic deploy… not until 30 minutes after start of shift.. this is an absolute lie that she stated again after the inaccuracy what pointed out to the Chiefs original statement. Shame on you Commissioner!!

    Like

  2. To the Mayor: TY for requesting responses from the administration side of this issue. I am wondering however when you will meet with, or ask for the same clarification from the front line side, or ministry dispatch side to fact check statements and claims made in fairness and transparency

    Like

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