Paramedics busier than ever in Summerland

Paramedic call outs increase

Over the past few years Summerland paramedics have seen more than a 20 per cent increase in calls for service.

Summerland council heard Tuesday from BC Emergency Health Services director Todd Onsorge and South Okanagan clinical operations manager Michael Sandler.

The community has undergone major changes over the last five years, Sandler said, thanks to a significant influx of provincial funding to support patient care delivery changes.

Summerland transitioned over to a full-time model, allowing for 24/7 staffing 365 days a year with two full time paramedics at all times and two paramedics on a call-out model.

"We've broken it down by month, roughly about 115 calls a month between the two cars in the community itself," Sandler said.

He said the community saw just over 1,400 calls last year, up from about 1,100 three years previously.

Sandler said 10 a.m. is the busiest time period in terms of calls, with 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. being the second busiest period.

Coun. Richard Barkwill asked if there were any delays at the hospital the paramedics experienced in unloading a patient because of backups in the emergency room.

"Very few," Sandler replied. "Kelowna experiences slightly more than Penticton. Penticton is one of the lowest in the province to be quite honest. We talked about this frequently, they do stress about it. But the work that they do is extremely efficient and they have the some of the lowest delays in the entire province of BC if not in Canada, they're pretty amazing at it."

"What we do find is that when we have an area that has very low offload delay and a super efficient hospital, if there's a very small delay, everybody notices it, but when you compare the data across the board, it's minuscule they do a very good job there."

Sandler noted there was no short answer reason available to why call volumes spike at 10 a.m. they said the focus will be on maintaining high call volume response requirements and making sure that resources are available to attend to those calls.

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