CK Paramedics Will Soon Get More Decision Making Powers

A Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services Ambulance (Photo by Jake Kislinsky)

Officials with Chatham-Kent EMS like new provincial rules to revamp the ambulance system.

Under the new system, paramedics would redirect patients with less pressing needs to places other than emergency rooms.

General Manager Donald MacLellan says decreasing emergency room use when it’s not needed is a great step forward.

“Allowing paramedics to make a more clinical decision on where to transport a patient…it spreads the wealth for services for clients giving them more optimal resources,” says MacLellan.

Assistant Fire Chief Scott Ramey says paramedics in the UK and Australia have greater decision-making power and the ambulance system there is working very well.

The province says the new system should start rolling out in March.

MacLellan says paramedics are highly trained and have the ability to decide whether patients need to go to the emergency department, a walk-in clinic, or their family doctor.

“Paramedics are very highly trained and knowledgeable in assessing patients and determining the right need for services and intervention and they have the ability to make those judgement calls,” MacLellan says.

He adds paramedics don’t have any other options right now except the emergency department.

“Our only option based on legislation is an emergency room. It’s about finding the right resource for the right patient at the right time and this certainly aligns with this move forward,” says MacLellan.