‘It’s time to listen’: a message from the President & First Vice-President in honour of Paramedic Services Week

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida

It doesn’t matter what day of the week, or what time of day it is, somewhere there is a paramedic saving a life. They are responding to a crisis, rushing someone to hospital, or even doing a home visit, because that’s what paramedics do every day; they touch people’s lives, often in their darkest hours.

As first responders, their work is beyond challenging, and it takes its toll.

That’s why Paramedic Services Week is so important. We know that paramedic services are central to the delivery of emergency medicine in Ontario, and this week is our opportunity to thank our paramedics for all the work they do.

But this year is also an important year for our province, because it’s an election year.

For years, OPSEU paramedics and Ambulance Communications Officers have been raising the alarm about hospital offload delays, outdated dispatch systems, funding shortfalls and the threat of the fire-medic model. We’ve identified the positive changes that are needed to improve paramedic services in this province, and we’ve taken this message to the decision makers at Queen’s Park:

  • Provide funding for paramedic services to meet demand that is growing by six per cent a year.
  • Provide our 911 dispatch system with better tools (including MPDS) to prioritize calls and deliver the right care, at the right time.
  • Increase the number of single-paramedic response units, backed up by ambulances, to reduce the response time in emergencies.
  • Build a registry for life-saving defibrillators and supporting more public defibrillators and CPR training.
  • Expand community paramedic programs that deliver non-emergency, in-home services and help reduce the number of 911 calls.

Ontario’s paramedics know what it takes to improve pre-hospital care, because they live and breathe it every day.

That’s why this year, we need to do more than thank them – it’s time to listen, and to take action by voting for better paramedic services on June 7.

In Solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
OPSEU President

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer