Sports & Health

Paramedic Services beat response time targets

York Region Paramedic Services response times surpassed all six Ministry of Health targets last year.

Improvements include surpassing the target time for sudden cardiac arrests, which the region credits, in part, to integrating community-based strategies involving local municipal fire services and the Automated External Defibrillator program.

Also, according to a Report of the Commissioner of Community and Health Service, highlights include maintaining hospital transfer times below 30-minute targets, enabling paramedics to better respond to call volumes and meet response time goals, as well as building and operating a new response station in the City of Markham.

The region says the ability to meet and exceed Ministry targets is largely driven by the activities and initiatives outlined in the Council-approved Paramedic Services Master Plan, 2021 to 2031. The long-term plan provides data and insight on what is required for continued excellent paramedicine care across York Region’s nine cities and towns.

Under Ontario Regulation 257/00 of the Ambulance Act, upper-tier municipalities that operate land ambulance services must have response time performance plans. In September 2012, council adopted the York Region Emergency Medical Services Response Time Performance Plan 2013, identifying targeted response times from dispatch to arrival on scene. Response times are based on the Canadian Triage Acuity Scale, a five-level tool assessing the urgency of a patient’s condition.

“Supporting community well-being by protecting residents’ health remains a priority for York Regional Council,” York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson says. “By continuing to invest and improve Paramedic Services, we help ensure paramedics continue responding to the growing and diverse needs of our communities.”

In November 2024, the Ministry of Health will launch the new Medical Priority Dispatch System at the Georgian Ambulance Communication Centre, enhancing call prioritization and dispatch to better match paramedic resources with patient needs, according to the report.

As well, Paramedic Services will continuing to deliver “innovative” community paramedicine programs like the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care, supporting those on long-term care waitlists, Improving Patient Access to Care in the Community which enables paramedics to perform enhanced diagnostics and provide on-scene treatment and discharge and the CP@Clinic which provides support in seniors’ housing buildings and clients’ homes connecting them to service providers and supporting system navigation.

“As York Region’s population continues to grow and age, the demand for paramedic services is also projected to increase to more than 163,600 calls per year by 2031,” says City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Gino Rosati, Chair of Community and Health Services. “Continued efforts on innovation and partnerships will grow York Region Paramedic Services as an integral part of the community and health care systems now and for years to come.”

Paramedics responded to 92,473 incidents in 2023, a slight decrease from 2022, when they responded to 93,639 incidents. For more information on York Region Paramedic Services, visit york.ca/paramedics or follow @YorkParamedics on X (formerly Twitter).

 

Photo: York Region Paramedic Services response times surpassed all six Ministry of Health targets last year. (Photo courtesy of York Region)

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