“Deplorable”: BC paramedics warn of significant weekend delays

The union representing paramedics in BC is warning that there aren’t enough staff to cope with demand, which could lead to “significant delays” in service this weekend, and beyond.

The Ambulance Paramedics of BC announced on Saturday, August 20, that many ambulances were unstaffed in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, noting that “ZERO” ambulances were staffed in Maple Ridge.

Provincial President Troy Clifford said in a statement, “On Friday night, we had many Advanced Life Support ambulances sitting empty all night, and today we continue to see deplorable non-staffed Ambulances in the Fraser Valley as well.”

“We are urging the public to be aware that there could be significant delays in service, and use 911 when someone’s health or safety is at risk, use 811 when unsure.”

While this weekend’s situation raises alarms, it’s only the continuation of a province-wide trend that “seems to have no end,” said the union.

In a statement from June 2022, the union said that the province is “suffering from unprecedented staffing, recruitment and retention issues.”

“We do not have enough paramedics and dispatchers to meet the call volume and demand for service,” they wrote.

“We have never seen our ability to respond to patients in their time of need be in such peril.”

On social media, the response to the recent announcement was met with calls for more investment in emergency services.

“We need to support paramedics better and folks who step forward to be one, nothing but the greatest respect for paramedics and the ambulance service,” wrote one commenter.

Daily Hive has reached out to the BC Health Ministry for more on what’s being done to support paramedics and will update this story.