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BC experiencing ambulance staffing shortages, union says

Last Updated Mar 19, 2019 at 7:03 pm PDT

(Source: iStock)

Staffing shortages could mean longer wait times for patients

Eby says there's also been shortages at a number of dispatch centres

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Staffing shortages are hitting ambulances in British Columbia, and that could mean longer wait times for people that need to get to the hospital.

That’s according to the Union representing ambulance paramedics in this province.

Union spokesperson Cameron Eby says they’ve been seeing the problem for months, but it’s reaching unprecedented levels.

He says there were particular issues during night shifts in mid-March.

“Depending on the time, we had reports for 25 to 40 paramedic units out of services, which represents between 30 and 50 per cent of total resources in the area.”

Eby adds there have also been shortages at a number of dispatch centres.

“They’re suffering shortages, and that’s increasing the workload and fatigue in that situation as well. So whether you’re making a 911 call or waiting for the paramedics to arrive, it seems like staffing is an issue as well.”

He says more full time staff need to be hired to address the current shortages, and to prepare for the near future, when current staff members retire.