No ambulances available for 911 calls

A shortage of hospital beds led to 32 Code Reds in February 2011 in Waterloo Region, The Record reports. "Code Reds" occur when no ambulances are available to take 911 calls. One Code Red lasted four hours on Feb. 14.

A shortage of hospital beds is forcing paramedics to wait in emergency rooms to hand over patients to hospital staff, the Record reports.

Regional politicians are being asked to hire five more paramedics to improve EMS 
response times. In effect, hospital shortages are driving up municipal costs.

Waterloo Region ambulances reach 90 per cent of emergencies within 12 minutes and 32 seconds, up 33 seconds over 2010. The legislated response time is 10 minutes and 30 seconds.

The Director of the Waterloo EMS told the Record that off load delays fell in October and November after the service started taking patients to a less-busy hospital even if the hospital was not designated for the patient’s symptoms. “It was safer for a patient to be in the wrong hospital, than it was to be in the right hospital but in a hallway lined up with people,” he said.

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