QUEEN’S PARK – Sandy Shaw, NDP MPP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, will bring forward a motion for debate Thursday calling for action to end ambulance unavailability across the province.
“It’s a terrifying moment when you call an ambulance for a parent, grandparent, or child, only to learn that no ambulance is available to respond,” said Shaw. “Right now, we are witnessing a dire shortage of available ambulances in all parts of the Ontario. In different areas you may hear ‘code zero’, ‘code black’, or ‘code red’. They all have the same horrifying meaning – that not a single ambulance is available to respond to an emergency call for the entire region.”
In October, Essex County declared a state of emergency when a code black lasted three hours. In Hamilton, Code Zeros have already tripled compared to last year. In Ottawa, Waterloo, and Thunder Bay, Code Zeros have become a near daily occurrence.
“We cannot allow this terrifying crisis to continue. Ontarians expect ambulances to be available when they need them", said Shaw. “When ERs and hospitals are short-staffed, ambulances remain parked as paramedics wait with patients instead of leaving them in the care of a nurse. That prevents paramedics from getting back on the road and saving more lives.”
Shaw is urging the government to take immediate action including repealing Ontario’s wage-capping Bill 124 to ensure the province can recruit, retain, and return nurses to hospitals so health care professionals are available to receive patients.
“Every Ontarian should have access to ambulance and paramedic services,” said Shaw. “The Ford government needs to provide the funding needed to end ambulance shortages once and for all. They can make that commitment today by immediately passing this motion.”
Motion 4: End Code Zeros
That, in the opinion of this House, every Ontarian should have access to ambulance and paramedic emergency services, and the Government of Ontario should ensure the necessary funding to end the periods of time when ambulances are unavailable to respond to an emergency call, known as "code red" or "code black".