January 13, 2017
Municipal governments, which are fully responsible for fire services, think that the current government proposal, adopted from the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA), is a bad idea that increases fire services costs without improving patient care.
There is no evidence that expanding medical responses by certified paramedics while on fire service would in any way improve patient outcomes. Firefighters are already trained in CPR and public access defibrillation which provides the necessary skill set for responding to a sudden cardiac event call (CTAS-1). This is the only medical situation where evidence shows that seconds actually matter.
The proposal could not be voluntary, given the Ontario interest arbitration system. It has significant labour and risk management issues and costs without any patient benefit. It is an idea that will make matters worse, not better.
For years, municipal governments have asked MOHLTC to address modern demand for paramedic services by improving land ambulance/EMS services, especially dispatch, to actually improve patient outcomes. This should be the focus of provincial-municipal attention and efforts.