For immediate Release:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reducing Paramedics Leads to Longer Response Times in Gander Area  

ST. JOHN’S, NL – The union representing paramedics at James Paton Memorial Hospital is not surprised that citizens living in the Gander area are complaining about response times when waiting for an ambulance.

According to NAPE President Carol Furlong, the number of calls for an ambulance has almost tripled in recent years, yet the number of paramedics on-site has been cut in half. In the past there were four paramedics which meant two teams were on site. Currently there are only two paramedics, or one team of responders, on duty. When a second emergency call is received, paramedics who are on-call must return to work and prepare the second ambulance.

“Central Health has essentially reduced paramedic staff in half and expects to offer the same level of service, despite an increase in calls. This simply is not possible,” said Furlong. “If the paramedics on duty at the Gander hospital respond to a call when a second ambulance is required, off duty on-call paramedics must return to the hospital and then prepare the ambulance to take the second call. This takes valuable time away from responding to an emergency situation.”

“The inability for on-call paramedics to immediately respond to an emergency situation could have devastating and tragic results,” continued Furlong. “Paramedics say the current situation is untenable.”

“NAPE is calling on Central Health to take immediate action to address the concerns of the people in the area and re-instate a second paramedic team,” stated Furlong. “Someone’s life may depend on it.”

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For further information please contact:

Keith Dunne, NAPE Campaigns and Communications Coordinator

(phone) 709.570.2501 (cell) 709.631.9737                 (e-mail)