Paramedics from Yarmouth to Glace Bay are sounding the alarm over the ongoing crisis in Nova Scotia’s healthcare system. Throughout Iain Rankin’s ‘state of emergency’ election, the #CodeCritical campaign has been alerting Nova Scotians to the lack of ambulance services in the province. Hundreds of Code Critical warnings have been sent out since Iain Rankin called the election on July 17th.
“Paramedics are our healthcare system’s rapid response team,” said PC Leader Tim Houston. “The fact that they are risking their jobs to come forward and make sure Nova Scotians are aware of how far our healthcare has deteriorated under the Liberals should serve as a canary in the coal mine for the entire system.”
The PC platform offers solutions for Nova Scotians concerned about the healthcare crisis, including transformational changes for the delivery of primary care, long term care, and mental health. By building capacity in the system and reducing offload times, the Hope for Health plan will free up paramedics and ambulances so that they can be on the road when Nova Scotians need them most.
Members of the PC team have been pushing for more transparency from the Rankin Liberals about the state of pre-hospital care in the province. Colton LeBlanc, PC candidate for Argyle and former advanced care paramedic has been a leading voice on this issue in the Legislature, calling for an emergency debate in March, where the Liberal Minister of Health justified ambulance wait times that can be upwards of an hour and a half by saying care begins when 9-1-1 is called as dispatchers are able to provide instructions over the phone.
This would not be acceptable for any other emergency service that Nova Scotians rely on. When people dial 9-1-1 they expect that help is on the way, but the Rankin Liberals consider a do-it-yourself approach to be an appropriate alternative. Iain Rankin has been very clear that he does not support proposed PC investments that would build capacity in the healthcare system, instead telling media on July 27th that he’ll “let the voters decide” if they want to fix the healthcare system.
Two paramedic whistleblowers, who spoke anonymously out of fear for their jobs, describe the situation as dire and said workers are facing burnout.
“I don’t feel the public understands how serious the problem has become. I'm speaking out because Paramedics are driving hours to get to calls on a daily basis. The coverage just isn’t there. It’s dangerous for us, and it’s dangerous for Nova Scotians." -Paramedic, Central Zone
“The crisis in healthcare can no longer be ignored,” said LeBlanc. “The Liberal status quo is costing lives and the bill for their failure is on the table. Unfortunately, Iain Rankin has been clear that he won’t pick up the cheque, and instead will balance the budget on the back of our healthcare system and our seniors.”
“Provincial guidelines and Ministerial Directives about offload times cannot solve this issue if there are no beds to move them to,” said Carl Deveau, PC Candidate and an EHS Paramedic and volunteer firefighter. “The entire healthcare system is in an interconnected crisis. If long-term care beds are not available to seniors, they end up in the hospital. When the hospital is full, paramedics cannot offload patients or be on the road responding to additional calls. We need to make investments in primary care, long-term care, and mental health to relieve the pressure on paramedics.”