New rules for paramedics could add time to patient care
Published Thursday, July 29, 2010 3:54PM EDT
Ottawa paramedics are worried new training requirements imposed by Ontario's Ministry of Health will increase the time it takes to treat some patients.
As of midnight Wednesday, the new rules prevent basic paramedics from administering intravenous lines. However, in Ottawa the practice has been standard for more than 10 years.
"Now all of a sudden those people are no longer able to do that (administer an IV)," said Anthony DiMonte, Ottawa's chief paramedic.
The health ministry has offered little explanation for the new regulations. Now, only advanced care paramedics can give IVs.
But those paramedics say their partners are more than capable of doing the job.
"He's my right-hand person. When he was able to start the IVs, it would allow me to do other tasks. Now, I have to add that into the stuff that I'm doing, so it adds to my scene time and makes my job a lot more stressful," said Rob Wilson, an advanced care paramedic.
The paramedic director for the region says he's frustrated because the new rules dismiss the training many Ottawa paramedics already have.
"I was pretty confident that this was a good program. We had good training, good oversight and it worked well. The paramedics were phenomenal. But the rest of the province is saying ‘No, we're not happy with this,' and they implemented a bigger training program, which I think is kind of overdone, constipated, and we have a fundamental philosophical disagreement but I lost when it came to a committee vote," said Dr. Justin Maloney.
Advanced care paramedics require an extra year of education. Although the Ottawa Paramedic Service would like the decision reversed, officials say they don't think that will happen.
"At the end of the day, this may be a battle that's lost," said DiMonte.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes