A new health care system plan hopes to address emergency service issues in Windsor and Essex County.

The Essex-Windsor Emergency Medical Services, Leamington District Memorial Hospital and Windsor Regional Hospital announced the implementation of the plan on Wednesday.

Starting immediately, if patients in Leamington, Kingsville, Essex, Lakeshore, Tecumseh, Amherstburg and LaSalle are assessed as “less-acute” by paramedics, they will be transported to LDMH’s Emergency Department for care and treatment.

It will only take place during peak times, when there are less than six ambulances to respond to a call because of off-load delays.

 “This partnered systems solution will assist the emergency services of Windsor and Essex County to better serve those in need of emergency services,” says Bruce Krauter, Chief, Essex-Windsor EMS.  “Ensuring the patients receive the right care, at the right place and at the right time while also ensuring Ambulances are available for Emergencies in the community.”

LDMH officials say the hospital has capacity to see and treat these “less acute” patients in a timely fashion.

Over the past 10 years, the number of ER visits and ambulances transporting patients to the ER in Windsor has increased. Windsor hospital officials say since 2001, the number of semi urgent, “less acute” patient calls to EMS has increased from just over 11,000 annually to over 20,000 annually.

This causes conditions referred to as Code 7’s and ambulance off-load delays will remain at the hospital waiting to off load their patients into the Emergency Department.

Hospital officials say this deprives the community of the much needed emergency resource.

Current legislation requires paramedics to transport a patient to the closest most appropriate facility or to a hospital Emergency Department, as requested by the patient.

Paramedics can and do treat patients at the “site” of their call and this may result in the patient deciding that they need not attend an Emergency Department. However, absent of this agreement, paramedics are mandated to transport any patient requesting to be transported to an Emergency Department.

Hospital officials say calling an ambulance will not necessarily get patients faster service in the ER.