The Ottawa Paramedic Service responded to 132,530 calls in 2020 and met all Council-approved and legislated response time targets for emergency calls.
The City’s Community and Protective Services Committee today received the service’s annual report, which notes that, despite a decrease in response volume due to COVID-19, the service experienced several new challenges due to the pandemic. These included supply chain interruptions, a shortage of personal protective equipment, new measures for infection prevention and control, symptom screening and the need to continuously adapt to a rapidly changing situation.
Offload delays at hospital emergency rooms continued to be a challenge in 2020, with paramedics spending 46,095 hours waiting to transfer patients to local hospitals. This lost time is valued at $6.6 million for the year, or 55 full-time staff. To address the resulting demand, the service is hiring more staff, expanding community paramedic care, using strategically placed response units, diverting patients from emergency rooms and conducting proactive home visits.