As hospital backlogs grow, paramedics struggle to deliver timely care – CBC

In Ottawa, paramedics have spent thousands of hours in ‘offload delays’ — waiting to hand over care

Aug 22, 2022

Paramedics Colin Waterhouse and Josh Picknell are in their ambulance in Ottawa on a Friday afternoon when the call comes in: A Code 4, which means they need to get there fast.

With lights flashing and sirens blaring, they race to the call’s address and assess the patient; he needs to go to the hospital. Moving quickly, the drive to the Queensway Carleton Hospital, in Ottawa’s west end, is fast. But as the paramedics arrive at the hospital, the rush of activity stops.

There are six ambulances already parked outside and the emergency room is packed.

The two paramedics will have to wait with their patient, monitoring him, until his care can be transferred to the hospital. “Essentially, we’re stuck here,” said Waterhouse.

The experience is known as an “offload delay.” It means their ambulance will stay parked at the hospital for now, rather than head back out on the road, where it can respond to other incoming 911 calls.

Read more:

NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More