The Paramedic Association of New Brunswick has started an on-line petition as part of a lobby effort to persuade the government to recognize Advanced Care Paramedics. The petition is on a website the Association launched today – www.TheCareYouDeserve.ca
PANB President Phil Comeau says New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that does not recognize Advanced Care Paramedics, despite promises to do so by both the current PC and former Liberal governments. Comeau says it is time to catch-up. “It’s a serious issue. What it means is that measures an advanced care paramedic would take in a situation such as a heart attack or serious trauma that could save a life would not be done in New Brunswick. It means if you are in a life-threatening situation, your odds will be better in any other province.”
Comeau says paramedics are trained to the advanced care level in New Brunswick, but because they can’t use their full range of skills here, they leave to work in Ontario or Alberta or Nova Scotia or basically, in any other province.
He says it is hard to understand why the government has not moved ahead on this because the cost is minimal and the cost savings considerable. As an example of these savings, Comeau points to heart attacks. “When someone suffers a heart attack, he or she immediately starts to lose heart muscle. This heart muscle deterioration continues until the patient is given a drug that stops it. The sooner this drug is administered, the less the damage, and the less the damage, the more the savings in a shorter hospital stay and probably fewer heart issues in the future. In any other province this drug is administered on the spot by an Advanced Care Paramedic. In New Brunswick, the patient doesn’t get it until after he is transported to the hospital. And a heart attack is just one example of many. We also pay more than $300,000 a year for nurses who accompany patients on transfers from one hospital to another, just for taxis to get them back to their hospital. No other province faces this expense because with advanced care paramedics the nurse doesn’t have to go in the ambulance.”
Comeau says New Brunswick citizens deserve the same level of emergency ambulance care every other Canadian gets, and he doesn’t understand the government’s hesitation. If you want to sign the petition, it’s atwww.thecareyoudeserve.ca