By Chad Ingram
The Haliburton County Paramedics have passed their three-year service review with compliments from the health ministry.
Paramedic chief Tim Waite told members of the county’s EMS advisory committeeduring a Sept. 10 meeting that he was pleased with the results of theinspection completed by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
“Very complimentary in my opinion an extremely successful review” Waite told councillors.
A service review team from the ministry was first on-site in the countylast October. The process includes checking that the county is meetinglegislated standards regarding everything from patient care to handlingof communicable diseases to ambulances and equipment. Following thatinitial visit and an exit interview with the review team ministry repsthen returned for an inspection in March producing a final report inJune. A staff report from Waite showed that the report commended theHaliburton County Paramedic Service for its preparation for thecertification inspection; employee qualifications; training and vehiclecertification.
“There’s always changes in the review it’s not exactly the same each time”Waite told councillors. Ambulance services must pass an inspection every three years in order for the ministry to renew their licences tooperate.
“We’re good to go for another three years” Waite said.
“It sounds like everything is in place for the next cycle” said Dysart etal Mayor Andrea Roberts who chairs the EMS committee. “ . . .Congratulations to you and all the staff. It’s really something thecounty should be proud of.”
During the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Ottawa inAugust Premier Doug Ford promised there would be a four per centfunding increase to land ambulance services. Waite told committeemembers details around that remain unknown.
“I really don’t know what that means for us” Waite said. “It’s not clear it’s sort of a four per cent increase for ambulance and again I can’t really offer any more information than that and that’s what they said but I don’t know what it means.”
County Warden Liz Danielsen quipped that the chief shouldn’t feel bad as shewas pretty confident no one knew exactly what it meant.
“When they said increase that sounds good to me rather than a decreaseanyway” Waite said. “But are we going to get four per cent more or isthat four per cent for the province and how it’s divvied out I don’tknow.”
Land ambulance services are funded half by the province and half by municipalities.
The Ford government has also indicated it has plans to merge more than 50ambulance services in the province into 10 but the details around thatprocess also remain unknown. Because the county’s per household cost for ambulance is low compared to virtually all other areas of the province county chief administrative officer Mike Rutter has said thatregardless of which municipalities the county might be grouped with its cost for land ambulances will increase.
The annual per household cost of the ambulance service in HaliburtonCounty is $238 per household which is much lower than similarcommunities. A report from the county’s auditor shows the per householdcost for ambulances in Hastings is $748 and $953 in Frontenac County.