Posted on Friday February 24 at 11:00 p.m.
Ambulance service crisis for counties
Lending the City of Ottawa a helping hand with ambulance service is not a problem for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell. Unless the counties are left with no ambulance units at all to call on when there is an emergency here.
The eight mayors on counties council were shocked and concerned when told during their Feb. 22 regular session that all of Prescott and Russell had zero access to any ambulances at one point earlier this month. All of the counties ambulances were dealing with call-outs from Ottawa at that time.
This recently led to an incident in Embrun where it took nearly 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at the scene of an emergency.
The UCPR and City of Ottawa have a sharing agreement in place where each can call on the other for ambulance dispatch assistance when necessary. The problem is that call dispatch statistics between the two show that Ottawa makes more demands on the counties for ambulance units than the UCPR ever does on the City of Ottawa’s ambulance service.
The counties also have a problem with getting the City of Ottawa to settle up its share of the ambulance service cost under the sharing agreement. That issue has been raised with the province and with the City of Ottawa without any result so far.
The recent zero-ambulance situation now has provoked UCPR council to order its administration to send letters to Ottawa, the provincial government, and also Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MPP Grant Crack. The letter to Crack will include a demand for help from him in arranging for a face-to-face meeting with either Health Minister Eric Hoskins or his senior staff at the upcoming Ontario Good Roads Association forum.