Essex-Windsor EMS develops plan to handle increase in calls
An Essex-Windsor EMS vehicle is seen in Windsor, Ont. (Melissa Nakhavoly / CTV Windsor)
Published Thursday, November 7, 2019 9:38AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 7, 2019 11:26AM EST
ESSEX, Ont. -- Essex-Windsor EMS has developed a plan to respond to a dramatic increase in emergency calls over the next 10 years.
The EMS Master Plan was presented to Essex County Council on Wednesday.
Chief Bruce Krauter calls the plan a good foundation to examine and understand future needs for paramedics in the region.
"This is a guiding document, this is not set in stone," says Krauter.
Krauter notes the demand for land ambulance service in Windsor, Essex County and Pelee Island continues to increase each year.
Data shows local paramedics responded to 14 per cent more calls between 2013 and 2017.
Krauter tells CTV News if calls continue to increase, they will need 57 additional paramedics, 10 moire ambulances and more stations.
That is estimated to cost about $10 million to $18 million.
Krauter attributes the increase in calls to the mental health and addictions crisis.
"Mental health and addictions may not be best treated by going right into emergency departments so we have spoken to Hotel Dieu Grace because they are the leader of mental health and addictions in the region and seeing how we can look at getting alternate transportation," says Krauter.
Essex-Windsor EMS handles an average of 139 calls each day with about two thirds of those taking place within the city.
Krauter hopes a collaboration can help respond to the crisis.
"The province is changing the Ambulance Act and regulations to allow alternate destinations and that would be one of the first focuses for Essex Windsor EMS and how to get mental health patients the right treatment at the right place, at the right time," says Krauter.
In June, County Council sent a letter to the provincial government to reconsider its spending plans for land ambulance services.
It was sent after Krauter reported a $2.3 million shortfall in this year's EMS budget.