The Hamilton Paramedic Service submitted its annual report this week. The service has just under 400 employees, 88 percent of whom are paramedic and spends $50 Million per year. The service reported improvements in delays waiting to transfer patients to hospital and few code ZERO events where no ambulances are available. Highlights of the report include:
• Service demand continued to increase in 2019, with paramedics performing 87,037 individual responses to 70,656 events during the year and transporting 53,248 patients to hospitals, an average of 146 patients per day.
• HPS performance as reported annually on the Ministry of Health (MOH) website continues to be better than the Council approved response time standards.
• Response time to calls dispatched as a life-threatening (Code 4) emergency at the 90th percentile was 11 minutes and 18 seconds. This reflects the time period from when the MOH Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CACC) assigns the call to paramedics until paramedics arrive on scene.
• Hospital offload delays continued to be a challenge. The provincial guideline for hospital offload is 30 minutes 90% of the time. In 2019, only 41% of transfer of care from paramedics to hospital staff took place in 30 minutes or less. A total of 30,549 staffed ambulance hours were consumed waiting for transfer of care beyond the first 30 minutes after arrival at hospital, an increase from 2018.
• Despite the increasing time spent in offload delay, there were 16 fewer Code Zero events than in 2018 with a total of 80 events in 2019. Through ongoing collaboration with hospital partners, introduction of new programs and improvements to practice, a downward trend in the rates of Code Zero events is emerging