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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

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

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

Petition and Information on Caledon Paramedic Services

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