Recruitment issues among paramedics, leading to burnout and longer wait times across the Province
Prince George – Paramedics are experiencing recruitment shortages, across the province including right here in Prince George. Now, this is leading to major burnout and fatigue among its members, which has affected shift coverage and wait times across the Province.
Between the pandemic and the overdose crisis in B.C., paramedics have been working overtime to keep up with patient care. However, according to Troy Clifford, president of the Ambulance, Paramedic, and Emergency dispatchers of B.C., it’s a losing battle when it comes to sustainable wage, paired with overworked staff.
“For instance, February was a really challenging month in Prince George where we had a number of ambulances out of service for the whole month, my report from paramedics and dispatchers in Prince George is there were up to 80 vacancies, in February in Prince George. When I say vacancies these are shifts that we were unable to be filled by paramedics”
Let that sink in, 80 shifts in a month with 28 days, Clifford says, this affects not only the paramedics who are working but patient care as well.
“That is really the reason we are here, to look after our patients. As you get into rural and remote, you see the impacts of having one ambulance out of service it can be significant in Hazelton or Mackenzie or up in the Peace where we are seeing challenges up in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek as well. ”
But Clifford says, the BC Ambulance and the BC Emergency Health Services run ambulance services in B.C. and he says there seems to be a lack of awareness as to what’s going on.
“We need to hold the people responsible and accountable for running the ambulance service,.
Clifford says what’s needed is additional resources to meet the demands, considering call volumes go up six per cent each year. If something isn’t done this will have major impacts on response times.
“You’re a different person, you really want to help people and that and that’s why things like these staffing challenges, are really taken to heart by our paramedics and dispatchers and you know I am 33 years in and I have never seen it this bad in the province.”
B.C. paramedics respond to about 1,700 calls a day across B.C. Clifford says their management needs to acknowledge the problem and work with them to find solutions to filling vacancies and recruiting.
CKPG reached out to B.C. Emergency Health Services and are awaiting their response.
This is a developing story, CKPG will update later.