Chief paramedic worried about stress on staff, patients and response times with one ER site

By Tom Sasvari -September 27, 2023

ESPANOLA—The announcement by Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) of anticipated closures over several days in October of the Mindemoya Hospital emergency department is going to have impacts on services provided by the Manitoulin-Sudbury Paramedic Services (MSPS).

“It could be very serious for the services we provide,” said Paul Myre, chief of paramedic services MSPS. “Closing the hospital (ER) will have impacts. One of the big concerns for me is that the population in Mindemoya, M’Chigeeng and Western Manitoulin could be impacted by the closure.”

“We have talked at the table to all the stakeholders, including Paula Fields (president and CEO of the MHC), the Ministry of Health, Ontario Health, the hospital, paramedics and we brought in HSN (Health Sciences North) to put all our cards on the table,” said Mr. Myre.

Mr. Myre said normally paramedics deployed to calls from patients who reside in Mindemoya, M’Chigeeng and Western Manitoulin are brought to the Mindemoya Hospital. “Highly acute care patients will now have to be transported to Little Current. Our paramedics will see pressures in response times transporting patients from the west side of the Island to Little Current. And those units that are normally stationed in Mindemoya and Gore Bay will be in Little Current in these cases which will present additional pressures.”

“One of the big concerns for me as chief of operations for the paramedics is the impact this will have on our employees,” continued Mr. Myre. “Our paramedics are seasoned and used to taking patients to the Mindemoya Hospital. But if someone is suffering from a cardiac arrest, for example, now they (paramedics) will need to transport them 35-40 minutes. This increases the pressure on them in terms of time in getting the patients to the hospital and could increase the risk of occupational stress injuries to employees.”

“Foremost in concern for me is our staff as well as members of the community,” added Mr. Myre.

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