Quebec City paramedics want more ambulances on the road
Published Monday, November 20, 2017 7:31PM EST
Paramedics in Quebec City say there needs to be more ambulances on the road and point to recent deaths as a reason.
In four days three people died in the capital city region, and the union that represents 13 percent of paramedics said a lack of ambulances on call could be the reason, but the health minister disputes that.
Jean-Francois Gagné of FPHQ said the death early Sunday morning was one example of a lack of coverage.
"The call was in Beauport, so it was in the far east of the city, and the nearest truck was in the centre of the city. So instead of taking like three to four minutes, if we had a truck in Beauport, it took 17 minutes to respond to the call," said Gagné.
He said when the ambulance arrived the patient had a rapid pulse and abnormally low blood pressure. Her condition deteriorated on the way to the hospital, her heart stopped, and she died.
Health Minister Gaetan Barrette said the death was unfortunate, but he believes the paramedic's union is fearmongering.
The FPHQ union is currently in contract negotiations after their contract ended in 2015.
But thery're not negotiating with the government: in Quebec City, ambulances and paramedics are provided by private companies.
"If that's not an opportunity to use the media to put pressure on government, I don't know what is," said Barrette.
He said the number of ambulances on the road in Quebec City is frequently evaluated.
"The services are adequate as we speak, but that doesn't mean that periodically we're not to reassess the situation," said Barrette.
Gagné said he would like to see ten to 12 more ambulances on the road.
"There's a little bit of danger because there's not enough ambulances in the field. It's not unusual to have no ambulance available on the territory," said Gagné.
Last week Gagné teamed up with Parti Quebecois MNA Agnes Maltais to denounce ambulance response times.