Hamilton and Niagara paramedics say ambulances are having to wait too long at hospitals to hand off patients and it’s causing a serious ambulance shortage.
Paramedics can’t leave until they hand their patient off to another healthcare worker and if the wait is long, it means the ambulance is not free for another call. It seems this problem has been increasing over the past few months.
Monday night Hamilton EMS was in a code zero for almost four and a half hours, meaning there were one or fewer ambulances available to respond to calls.
“We’ve had more code zeros this year to date than we had in all of last year. More than we had in the prior years.” Michael Sanderson Hamilton EMS.
At least 20 of the calls Monday night left ambulances sitting at the hospital for longer than two hours, the goal is for paramedics to be in and out in 30 minutes. Any time after 30 minutes is considered delay.
Local hospitals say they have been at capacity for some time, it’s a complex system they say they’re dealing with more patients, and sicker patients these days. No one has any answers at this point.