'Paramedics are tired:' EMS workers say they're burnt out
The day-to-day grind for EMS workers isn’t getting any easier.
“Paramedics are tired. They’ve been doing this for 18 months,” says Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter, after a code black was called Tuesday evening.
A code black occurs when no ambulances are available.
“During that four minutes we had no ambulances to respond and we did have some calls for service coming into play,” he says.
The union representing EMS workers say they’re burnt-out.
“Which has led to more overtime, decrease of people available to take those shifts and then further reducing trucks,” says James Jovanovich, president of CUPE Local 2974.
Jovanovich is one of roughly 300 EMS workers in Windsor-Essex, and says the pandemic has taken a toll on his colleagues.
“We need to have either more ambulances on the road or more paramedics to staff them,” says Jovanovich.
“I can put more ambulances on the road but if I put more ambulances on to pick up more people they go to the hospital we’re going to have more off load delays,” Krauter tells CTV News.
Krauter says staff have been feeling the extra streets since May.
“We opened up some more and more people were out on the roads and the hospitals are starting to fill up and they have started to fill up that they have no capacity and we can’t move patients.”
He says it’s a major concern for the community.
“And to offer overtime on a nice bright sunny day where they’re going to come in and just do calls and do an offload delay and wear PPE I don’t blame them when they refuse overtime,” Krauter explains.
Some staff have left, but Krauter says recruitment is underway for new paramedics.
“In a week and a half we’re gonna have 16 new paramedics. That’s gonna help.”