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(Ottawa) The City of Ottawa should hire at least 14 paramedics as soon as possible, says an Ottawa jury enquiring into the death of a Greely, ON, woman last fall.

The jury further concluded that the 14 new staff should be a minimum, calling on the City to hire any additional paramedics that are needed to meet the Citys current performance targets. The five-person jury also called for the City to maintain adequate staffing levels, hire and train more Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedics and to immediately hire additional communication officers.

These and other recommendations were made today by the jury enquiring into the death of Alice Martin, who died en route to hospital October 14th, 2003, after waiting over 20 minutes for an ambulance. Other recommendations, directed at the provincial Ministry of Health, have implications for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) departments across the province.

Jim Robillard, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees 503, the union representing the Ottawa paramedics and dispatchers, was encouraged by the jurys conclusions.

We are hopeful that these recommendations get adopted as soon as possible, said Robillard. We are all of us greatly saddened, however, that the catalyst for these recommendations was a familys tragedy. Lets make the improvements we all know we can make to our EMS systems.

The recommendations come at the close of the jurys inquest. Other noteworthy recommendations called on the City to provide appropriate vehicles and equipment for the new personnel, update the computer dispatching software and to reexamine the ambulance deployment plan for urban and rural areas.

Robillard noted that the jury requested that the City and the provincial Ministry of Health report a year from now on whether their recommendations have been taken up and put into practice.

The jurys recommendations are a comprehensive call to make sure that community safety is what it should be, said Robillard. CUPE will do its part to see that safety enhanced.


For more information:
John McLuckie, legal counsel for CUPE 503, (office) 613 594-5100
David Robbins, CUPE Communications, (cell) 613 878-1431