This is the response of Anthony Di Monte, Assistant General Manager , Emergency & Protective Services to a shocking story in the Citizen concerning paramedic service efficiency:
Good evening Mayor and Council,
I am writing to provide additional information in reference to some news articles that were released earlier this evening, where the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has asserted in an investigation
report some alleged deficiencies in the Ottawa Paramedic Service (OPS). Firstly, I would like to clarify that the OPS is in the process of fact-checking the MOHLTC report and strongly disagrees with several of the conclusions and findings of the report.
This past August, the Emergency Health Services Branch of the MOHLTC received a complaint by a neighbouring municipality regarding the practice of dispatching the nearest ambulance – which
is a fundamental component of the provincially designed seamless system. This also leads to ambulances being dispatched across municipal borders; whether from a neighbouring municipality into the City of Ottawa or from the City of Ottawa into a neighbouring municipality. Also, worthy of note, the province funds 50% of land ambulance services in Ontario and therefore Ottawa taxpayers through their provincial taxes contribute to land ambulance services in our neighbouring municipalities.
After two and a half months, the OPS received last Tuesday (November 29) the MOHLTC’s investigation report.
As part of the MOHLTC process, the City of Ottawa is given 10 days to review the report and 40 days to develop an action plan, if required. This type of review process provides the opportunity to conduct fact checks and allow for MOHLTC staff to make any necessary amendments that may be required to ensure that the information is accurate.
Subsequent to the receipt of the report, Acting Paramedic Chief Peter Kelly met with representatives from the MOHLTC to clarify and challenge the validity of the findings.
As part of the review process, City staff will be meeting with staff from the MOHLTC to seek to corroborate the findings and make necessary changes. After the ten-day review period is completed, the City of Ottawa will develop an action plan, if required.
Further, it is my understanding that the report was inadvertently shared by the MOHLTC with our neighbouring municipalities. The MOHLTC quickly retracted and requested that the report not be distributed any further. Unfortunately, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell chose to post the report on its website today.
The Ottawa Paramedic Service takes great pride in providing efficient and effective service delivery to residents of Ottawa. The value of the service was recently highlighted in the Paramedic Service Review, approved by Council this past September, which described in detail many of the industry best practices utilized by Ottawa paramedics.
I am confident that staff will be able to demonstrate to the MOHLTC several key inaccuracies and discrepancies contained within the findings of the report.
Anthony Di Monte
Emergency & Protective Services
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