2nd Annual First Responders Easter EGGstravaganza at Kingston Park in Chatham. April 2, 2018. (Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent).

CK Might See More EMS During Off-Peak Hours

Chatham-Kent could see an increase in emergency services if council passes a proposal for an additional 12 hours of service a day.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent along with the company in charge of managing and operating ambulance coverage is making the suggestion to council at its next meeting Monday after receiving multiple inquiries from the public and media.

During budget deliberations in January, council approved the purchase of a new ambulance to address availability issues during peak period shift changes. Councillor Mark Authier’s suggestion to increase funding for additional hours was shot down back then, but it appears to be on the table now.

Assistant Fire Chief Chris Case said a during deliberations council directed Chatham-Kent Fire Emergency Services to conduct a study of service needs and trends.

“We’ve been working with Medavie EMS Ontario Chatham-Kent (MEMSO-CK) during the past several months and we have a recommendation for council,” he said.

The report asks for additional staffing between 2pm and 2am. If approved, it will cost the municipality over $300,000 for the rest of the year and the expanded service will be included in the Medavie contract through 2021.

Medavie currently uses dynamic deployment, which matches and balances ambulance resources with changing demands placed on the system. In a release, MEMSO-CK stated the dynamic system is more effective than a static ambulance deployment plan.

Medavie’s general manager, Donald MacLellan, said there’s been an increase in system demand over the last several years.

“[It’s] due to factors such as an increase in calls, emergency department offload delays and weather and major events,” MacLellan said. “Data is reviewed daily, weekly, monthly and annually to identify trends that may drive changes in how ambulances resources are deployed, however, we are careful to not to react in haste to what may be short-term demand increase rather a long-term trend.”