B.C. Ambulance Paramedics are sounding the alarm over a disturbing new trend to staff various ambulance stations in remote locations around the province.
More and more paramedics from the Lower Mainland are being asked to fill shifts outside Metro Vancouver.
President of the Ambulance Paramedics Union Bronwyn Barter says that means flying a paramedic in for a short term assignment to smaller communities.
“I hope this is a short-term solution. The longer term solution would be to get paramedics in there to do community para-medicine and having regular staff.”
Barter says the irony is the rural paramedics would fill the shifts if they were hired full time.
“They’re sending full-time paramedics into there rural and remote places. And these communities are going ‘wait a second, you only pay us [$2] an hour to carry a pager, and you’re bringing someone in from outside. If you would pay me full time in the small community, sure I would take those shifts.”
Barter says Metro Vancouver already has a shortage of paramedics.
But the province is disputing the union’s allegations.
In a statement, BC Emergency Health Services says it’s not flying crews into small towns.
“BC Emergency Health Services is not flying in paramedics from the Lower Mainland to cover shifts in remote communities.”
A spokesperson added they also not flying crews in from other cities, though couldn’t rule out the occasional sea plane ride where necessary.