ORNGE's practice of allowing single paramedic operations

ORNGE's practice of allowing single paramedic operations

April 11, 2012 at 9:00 AM


April 4, 2012

Honourable Deborah Matthews
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
10th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2C4


Dear Ms. Matthews,

On October 25, 2011 we sent a letter to Dr. Tony Campeau (see attached letter) in your ministry, regarding ORNGE's practice of allowing single paramedic operate and practice within both rotor and fixed wing environment of the air ambulance system. We identified to your Ministry that the CAW believes this practice to be violation of the Ambulance Act and Standards.

This practice has been brought to our attention on several occasions from our members due to the threat and danger that this poses to both patient, paramedic and aircrew.

Not only was this common practice within ORNGE but also the practice became policy in 2011 when ORNGE chose to purposely not backfill vacant shifts.

The Ambulance Act is clear; staffing is to be in accordance with Land Ambulance Certification Standards, which then states that Basic Life Support standards must be adhered to. The Basic Life Support Standards allow only one paramedic to function as a first responder only.

In the Special Report, March 2012, The Office of the Auditor General, "ORNGE Air Ambulance Related Services" the report states:

Level-of-care Determination and Paramedic Staffing Ambulances Page 30

Current Ministry policy requires two paramedics in every ambulance whether land or air. Ornge's policy allows only one paramedic for patients requiring primary care, and Ornge indicated this had been approved by the Ministry.

We have asked your Ministry to provide clarification on single paramedic operations that is presently being practiced by ORNGE. Does the Ambulance Act and Standards concur that two paramedics are required at all times to transport?

Is there an exemption to this standard and if so, can we be provided with such? If no exemption currently exists can the Ministry of Health confirm whether currently ORNGE is seeking to have such an exemption implemented?

We see the actions of ORNGE in the matter as serious reductions of safety to the public and our membership. We are prepared to meet with you at any time to discuss this issue and other issues at ORNGE.

If you have any questions, please contact my office.

Yours truly,

Ken Lewenza
National President



CC: Jamie Ross, President-CAW Local 2002
       Charles Telky, Chairperson-ORNGE Bargaining Unit
       Bob Orr, Assistant to the National President
       Ron Smith, Director of Transportation
       Ron McKerlie, President and CEO ORNGE



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