Skip to main content

Ambulances spending 21% more time in hospitals

The new Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative public report  indicates that ambulances (and by extension paramedics) are spending more and more time in hospitals.  For the thirteen (mostly large) Ontario communities included, the median percentage of time ambulances spend in hospitals has increased from 15.5% in 2009, to 17.8% in 2010, to 18.7% in 2011.

That's an increase by more than one-fifth in the amount of time spent in hospitals.

As the report notes "the more time paramedics spend in the hospital process equates to less time that they are available on the road."  Ambulance hospital off-load delays are a major part of the problem, as hospitals with too few beds lead to clogged emergency rooms that are unable to deal with newly arriving patients.

There is also some more positive news about improving EMS capacity:

  • The number of hours of ambulance service per thousand population has increased from 343 hours in 2009 to 350 hours in 2011, a 2% increase.
  • The number of calls responded to by EMS per thousand population has increased from 98 in 2009 to 107 in 2011, a 9.2% increase.
  • There was a decrease in the time it takes to dispatch 90% of EMS calls, shrinking from 2 minutes 56 seconds in 2009 to 2:51 in 2011. This is a 2.84% decrease over two years. 
  • The time for 90% of ambulances to arrive on the scene for the highest priority calls (from the time of the original 911 call) has decreased from 10 minutes 59 seconds in 2010 to 10:41 in 2011.  This is a one-year decrease of 2.8%.  (No report for 2009 was made.) 
But more capacity has driven up costs. The total cost for ambulance service (including administration, medical supplies, building operation, supervision and overhead) has increased from $168 per hour in 2009 to $181 per hour in 2011, a 7.7% increase.  

The report also indicates that the total cost for a "fire vehicle" in the included urban communities (where there are professional firefighters) has increased from $274 per hour in 2009 to $305 per hour, an 11.3% increase.   On this report, one hour of urban "fire vehicle" service is 68% more expensive than one hour of ambulance service  This is up from 63% more expensive in 2009.  


Popular posts from this blog

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.

Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 

No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

Six more problems with Public Private Partnerships (P3s)

The Auditor General (AG) has again identified issues in her annual reportwhich reflect problems with Ontario health care capacity and privatization.   First, here are six key problems with the maintenance of the 16 privatized P3 ("public private partnership") hospitals in Ontario:
There are long-term ongoing disputes with privatized P3 contractors over the P3 agreements, including about what is covered by the P3  (or “AFP” as the government likes to call them) contract.The hospitals are required to pay higher than reasonable rates tothe P3 contractor for  maintenance work the contractor has deemed to be outside of the P3 contract. Hospitals are almost forced to use P3 contractors to do maintenance work the contractors deem outside of the P3 contract or face the prospect of transferring the risk associated with maintaining the related hospital assets from the private-sector company back to the hospitalP3 companies with poor perf…