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Offload delays, poor funding for more skilled paramedics, jeopardizing public safety, say Ontario paramedics rallying Monday in Toronto.

Ontario paramedics are taking their concerns to the street. Theywant political parties vying for election this October to pay more attention to the key issues jeopardizing emergency medical services (EMS): too few paramedics and ambulances and too few hospital beds. After the election, funding plans suggest that these problems will get much worse, even the replacement of professional paramedics by less trained non-paramedical staff. 

On Monday, September 19, 2011, at 11:30 a.m., the paramedics will rallyon Toronto’s hospital row at the Toronto General Hospital Elm Street emergency entrance. 

Chronic ambulance and paramedic shortages are being felt in communities across the province, says Sandra Hynds, a GTA Advanced Care Paramedic. 

More than 18,000 hospital beds have been cut across the province and bed occupancy rates are exceptionally high.  

Ambulances are routinely pulled off the street and unavailable to respond to 911 calls,” says Hynds, “because they are waiting to offload patients at backlogged emergency rooms.  That has to change or people’s lives are put in jeopardy.” 

Paramedics and other EMS workers who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees are attending a two-day conference at the Hyatt Hotel (King St.) in Toronto on September 19 and 20. 

For more information, please contact:

Sandra Hynds            
GTA, Advanced Care Paramedic; Chair, Ambulance Committee of the
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario
(905) 953-6746

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications      
(416) 559-9300