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Simcoe County to boost paramedic response times with new resources, budget allocation

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The County of Simcoe says 12 municipalities will notice faster paramedic response times moving forward.

"We're putting additional resources into the Collingwood area and Alcona, which is in Innisfil. We're also putting additional resources in Penetanguishene and the City of Barrie," said Jane Sinclair, County of Simcoe.

The issues facing health care and paramedic response times were up for discussion in County council chambers in Midhurst on Tuesday.

Sinclair said calls for service jumped just over 10 per cent in 2022, with those numbers rising.

She said this year's County budget would allow the service to hire six new full-time paramedics.

For the past decade, the County has received about $130,000 annually for off-load nurse programs at hospitals. That figure has just jumped to half a million dollars annually.

"The standard for that patient flow piece in hospitals is about 30 minutes, and what we've seen is increases of up to 50 to 55 minutes in our local hospitals, which is almost double," said Sinclair.

"Having that resource in the hospitals to take those patients from our ambulances and get them back out into the community will help response times will help get those services to the people that need it most," said Sarah Mills, Chief of Paramedics for the County.

"Off-load delay not only affects our paramedics but it also impacts the personnel in the emergency department. It impacts the residents who are there for longer periods of time before they can be seen and treated," Sinclair noted.

"So by having additional resources to assess the patients when they arrive at the hospital will move them through the system so they can get treatment quicker. It helps the patient, it helps the staff in the hospital, and it certainly helps the paramedics get out there and do what they do best," finished Sinclair.

At peak times of the day, there are 35 ambulances on Simcoe County roads and 23 at night.

With the County's population growing steadily, keeping up has been challenging, and it hopes these latest changes will get people the help they need faster and get paramedics back on the road sooner.

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