Positions have not been filled’: Few paramedics to provide care in Kamloops
KAMLOOPS — As Royal Inland Hospital faces severe staffing shortages on many wards, staffing shortages are being felt in emergency care in Kamloops as well.
There was only one ambulance team from two in the morning until dayshift at 6 a.m., as the B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) scrambled to find paramedics to fill shifts.
Some paramedics on dayshift stepped up and took on overtime on Tuesday night (June 7) to ensure there was full ambulance service until 11 p.m.
President of the Ambulance, Parademics and Dispatchers of BC Troy Clifford says it’s not a new problem, but it’s becoming worse. There are more than 300 vacant shifts for June that have yet to be filled.
“They’ve known about the chronic staffing issues in the ambulance service. In Kamloops, it’s been one of those areas [where] the positions have not been filled,” said Clifford. “We have a high vacancy rate, plus we have a lot of people off sick, with mental health injuries, but also a big problem is not filling positions in a timely fashion.”
Clifford says the provincial government has provided some funding to hire more paramedics in Kamloops. He noted the health ministry responded to the heat dome last summer and added positions, but there simply aren’t enough people to fill those spots.
“Prince George and Kamloops were added another ambulance [two paramedics], so those positions were put in place, but they weren’t filled for quite some time, and then we see attrition — people are getting opportunities to move on — and that’s where our system doesn’t allow filling positions quickly,” he said. “So we have the positions. We just don’t have the bodies. That’s the reality of what we’re facing.”
CFJC Today reached out to BCEHS but were unavailable for an interview on Wednesday. However, we will speak with Executive Vice President & Chief Ambulance Officer Leanne Heppell on Thursday.