British Columbians Suffer/Die As NDP Government Fails to Keep Its Promise

Politicians make promises they cannot or simply do not keep. Every voter knows that.

When it involves a promised road, school, new program or even a tax cut, they often not only get away with it … but can even get re-elected making the same promises over again!

But growing numbers of British Columbians are suffering, or seeing their family members suffer and some even die, after the NDP made a promise four years ago it hasn’t kept.

This is DIRECTLY from the NDP’s 2017 Election Platform: ” We will invest in more paramedics, so that no one is left waiting for an ambulance in their time of critical need .”

Well, they did increase funding … but not enough … or the entire system is simply not working properly

Either way, the NDP government has failed in their responsibility … and their promise … to solve the critical problems facing BC’s Ambulance Services.

“No one is left waiting?”

Tell that to the family of Maureen Bower who died last September … two years after the NDP made its promise … and after it still took more than three hours to get an ambulance to her home in Coquitlam.

In Coquitlam! Not exactly a remote rural community or isolated farm.

” If they were there within the hour, she’d be recovering from a mild stroke. She’d still be alive. I’m angry about the situation. Her grandkids will miss their grandmother,” Maureen’s brother Ernie Mack said at the time.

Read the full details as reported by CTV here: https://bc.ctvnews.ca/she-d-still-be-alive-b-c-family-wants-answers-after-ambulance-takes-3-hours-to-arrive-1.5111554.

Maureen was not alone: news stories of British Columbians waiting HOURS for an ambulance in an Emergency situation are sadly easy to find.

Just last week, a woman who broke her hip at a Burnaby Sky Train station had to wait, lying there on the station floor for more than an hour before an ambulance arrived.

And a News 1130 story reported Troy Clifford, president of the Ambulance Paramedics of BC, saying long wait times for people in emergency situations are becoming more common.

“I mean it’s tragic when you see something like that, anytime anybody has to wait when they’re in an emergency situation whether it’s critical or not, it’s a horrible experience,” Clifford said.

See the News 1130 story here: https://www.citynews1130.com/2021/06/02/bc-paramedics-staffing-issues/

” We have the ambulances and the funding from the government. It’s really about the mismanagement of the ambulances, and the ambulance service and PHSA and BC Emergency Health Services (BC EHS) failing to really provide the mandate that they’re responsible to provide to the citizens of the province.”

But the ultimate responsibility lies with the BC government: it regulates, appoints, supervises and funds those who operate BC’s province-wide Ambulance system.

Tracy Gunderson died from a hemorrhage in a Vancouver apartment after it took an ambulance 35 minutes to get to her.

Imagine if you, or someone you know, was left ill, injured or died in distress, pain or laying their own blood after it took more than a half hour, or an hour or more, for an ambulance arrived.

While fully equipped ambulances sat in parking lots … unused.

Health Minister Adrian Dix ordered a full independent review after Gunderson’s death and in 2019 promised … there’s that word again … to implement ALL of the report’s 14 recommendations.

You can read the recommendations on Pages 19-20 of the report here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/conducting-health-research/bcehs-case-review.pdf.

It looked “promising”: https://globalnews.ca/news/5941815/bc-911-delay-report/.

But No … two years later, the BC Ambulance system remains seriously … and some believe critically ill!

One Friday night in February this year, according to the Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC “there were 29 ambulances that were left unstaffed in Metro Vancouver. It adds wait times for an emergency call were up to an hour, up to 16 hours for a non-emergency call, and there were no ambulances operating on the North Shore — although the latter was later mitigated,” News 1130 reported. (https://www.citynews1130.com/2021/02/22/paramedic-shortage-b-c/)

That level of public Emergency “service” … or “disservice” in BC … is really unacceptable, inexcusable!

Especially four years after the NDP made ending long ambulance waits an Election “promise” … No one would be left waiting.

But they were … and still are … far too often for far too long.

Lives literally hang in the balance.

It’s time the NDP government keeps its PROMISE … and meets its responsibility to get ambulances where and when they are needed … to save more precious lives.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Get FREE First Alerts to this BC-based Blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam … just Alerts to new topics up for discussion.)

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65 Responses to British Columbians Suffer/Die As NDP Government Fails to Keep Its Promise

  1. nonconfidencevote says:

    One wonders where all the money is going….
    More human resources personnel?
    Instead of front line staff?
    And the 800lb gorilla in the room…. Overdose deaths.
    How many staff have quit or are on stress leave because of the endless, bottomless pit of drug addicts dying every night?
    Some of these people O.D. SEVERAL times per night.
    Perhaps “Triage”( drug overdoses can wait 2 hours instead of heart attack victims) or a two day Paramedic strike on a Welfare Wednesday might ratchet up the govts interest?
    Several hundred dead in one night might actually get things moving.
    But no.
    Lets continue to talk and talk and talk, hire more expensive councilors and H.R. to discuss in endless meetings the “options available” for the overworked staff and ignore the real issue.
    Drug overdoses have burned out the front line staff and no one has the guts to say ” “Enough!”.
    No more free Narcan, no more free “taxi rides” in $1000/hour ambulances to sit in a line up at St Paul’s Hospital waiting for a Dr to release the “patient” to do it all over again the same night..
    After the overdose , 30 days in jail.
    Enjoy climbing the walls as you “detox”.
    Because the taxpayer funded game of overdose ” musical chairs” is unsustainable.

    There are hard working, retired , law abiding tax payers that DESERVE to be at the front of the line for the emergency workers that are burned out, exhausted, suicidal, fed up and quitting or retiring in droves..

    (Response: It’s not just a downtown Eastside or Vancouver problem. Have a look at this: https://globalnews.ca/news/7703179/bc-paramedic-shortage-mayors-letter/…. or this from Burns Lake: https://www.burnslakelakesdistrictnews.com/news/burns-lake-councillor-expresses-displeasure-with-bc-ambulance-dispatch/. h.o)

  2. D. M. Johnston says:

    The NDP, as usual tend not to be very truthful and its obvious they do not read history.

    In BC, if you don’t belong to a major union or are a vocal visible minority or First Nations, you are ignored.

    Mind you the BC Liberals are no better and here is the conundrum for voters, both major provincial parties lavish huge amounts of taxpayer’s monies on politcal friends and insiders and the rest can go fish.

    With Horgan’s NDP, their support is much more tenuous than the BC Liberals and they don’t get that so Premier Photo-op the 2nd can make promise after promise and if you are in the in crowd, “yippee”, but if you are deemed expendable, “die” and better be quick about it lest the news media wakes up from their collective stupor and make a fuss.

  3. jay says:

    Speaking as a paramedic of 20 years, there are now pressures on the system that are far greater than before.
    The overdose crisis should have been the straw that broke the back and it was. There has been a massive increase in burnout and PTSD as a result.
    Then came covid to drop an elephant on that back.
    The problem that the system has now is recruitment, retention and wages.
    Recruitment is difficult when you spend a bunch of time in school to get your license only to be sent to a small community for $2.00 per hour on a pager. The amazing thing is that recruitment has been so low that some actually get hired into a urban station which 10 years ago was impossible.
    Retention is now an issue due to the overload on crews and seemingly uncaring attitude of the employer.
    Wages is probably the biggest issue harming the previous 2 points. Wages for a paramedic are far below a comparably experienced police or fire member. And again, asking people to commute to small stations for $2.00 an hour is not gonna cut it. Yes some will do it because they are keen and can afford it. But if your system is based on hoping people will do it, well that’s just plainly a failed business plan.
    Resources have been “added” yes. New units have been created all over the province. But without the trained paramedics in them well they can’t do the calls themselves.
    Add that to the employer resistance to staff cars on overtime and leaving some areas devoid of coverage and the crisis gets worse.
    Then there is the fact that a large majority of calls are frivolous. Something that never should never go to 911 in the first place.
    There is a distinct lack of understanding of what the 911 system is for. For every sprained wrist and sore this or that we go to it means a heart attack or breathing emergency has to wait.
    The system is moving toward referring these type of calls but it’s all a liability issue.

    In the end wait times will not decrease until we have more bodies in seats and we decrease the number of non emergency calls.

    (Response: Problems with BC’s Ambulance Services are not new: anyone can use the Search box to see I was writing about this back in 2009 and several this since, under successive BC governments/parties. Yes, it’s a very complicated staffing/use of resources issue … but the NDP PROMISED in 2017 it would solve it. We’re still waiting … and for some it’s now too late. Time for Dix to get more actively involved in SOLVING the problems …and keeping the NDP’s promise. h.o)

  4. Rainclouds says:

    Ahhh Yes Adrian Dix. The smug socialist.

    Spending your tax money to litigate False Creek Surgical into oblivion.

    Buying all the private MRI clinics so everyone can get one, except your diagnosis simply is that because you wont get surgery anytime soon. Pig in a python.

    50% (and climbing) of Tax revenues go to Health care, worldwide 2nd most expensive, 35th best outcomes. North Korea/Canada the only two countries that don’t allow the private sector to participate in delivery.

    https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/how-canadian-health-care-differs-from-other-systems.

    Yet another glaring example of leaders failing to lead because the truth is painful. Kick that can……

    (Response: I’d bet many taxpayers could name an NDP government project or two or three or maybe even a dozen or more they’d happily divert funds from to provide better ambulance services in BC! h.o)

  5. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey,

    Great post where to start .

    Regrettably I have had more than enough ambulance experience over the last few years 20 plus calls for services. Some routine some emergency being talked thru cpr. I have so much respect for all first responders.

    We are witnessing the effects of years of mismanagement. SUCH as

    Ambulances being tied up for hours at hospitals because hospital won’t take care and control of patients.

    Big issue with use of part time and casual ambulance personnel.hence understating.

    Ambulance personnel and other first responders having turf wars over who provide what services. That is just silly.

    Many will blame the overdose crisis that may appear the case to some however it is just a small part of the situation.

    I really think we need to upgrade all fire fighters to paramedic level,

    We need to have transport vans like safe fire for more ambulatory patients.

    The last time the ambulance and first responders attended my home there was 4 firemen 6 ambulance personnel and several police officers.

    The failure to hospitalise the ill is also putting a strain on the system with repeat calls for services.

    (Response: Several good points .. from someone no doubt more familiar with the system than he would like to be. Clearly, it is not working well… and you cite several examples of things that could/should be improved. I know there are those who work in government and monitor this blog: they should write down every point you make and take it to those in charge. h.o)

  6. BMCQ says:

    I will not address all of this now but as usual media are missing something very important with this story of delayed ambulances/Paramedics and THE TRUTH IS NOT BEING TOLD .

    I am told on good authority that THERE ARE ENOUGH Paramedics in the system to ensure that Ambulances are running at capacity ..

    i am also told on good authority that the problem with the so called lack of Paramedics/ambulance crews is ABSENTEEISM .

    Paramedics calling in sick, taking stress leave, or any other number of given excuses that causes them not to appear in the work place .

    Yes, Paramedics can get sick like everyone else but there are many playing the system .

    Yes people get sick but what is taking place now is simply a SCAM . Ever notice how the Union Heads being interviewed are so appalled ? Ask them how many of the Paramedics are off sick or on stress leave, then watch him fumble for an answer . The Union simply wants more members which means more dues, more power, and more opportunity to milk the tax payer even more . Union Heads and Members seem to ant to manipulate the system to where they work a 3 day week and paid for 5, ho would you like that ?

    https://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+conundrum+of+absenteeism+in+the+Canadian+public+service%3a+a+wicked…-a0499653982

    How many of he rest of you get weeks and weeks off each year for stress or sickness or
    even time off to visit your Voodoo Witch Doctors place of worship .

    https://www.macleans.ca/economy/economicanalysis/public-sector-workers-took-a-record-number-of-sick-days-last-year/

    As Sock Puppet and POTUS Joe Biden might be heard to say, “Come On Man” !!!

    As a matter of fact Government Employees from BCGEU to BCTF, and more are ALL PLAYING THE SYSEM and the tax Payer as usual is footing the bill for additional staffing to cover for those who are absent legitimately and not, that includes high union salaries, vacation time longer than you could imagine, heavy costly benefits, pensions, and the rest . Yes, this is also a problem in he Municipalities right across the province and country, the had working Tax Payer is being “Victimized” by a SCAM perpetrated by Government Workers and their Unions .

    (Edited…the topic is BC Ambulance service)

    I dare you, simply ask anyone who you know that is an honest, responsible, dedicated government employee and Public sector union Member to enlighten you, they know and they resent what their fellow Public sector Employees and Unions are doing . Those same dedicated, honest, hard working Government employees and appalled and sickened by what they see but they are afraid to speak and you know exactly why .
    Yes, they would be in serious trouble and they would be under threat from their unions and their so called Union Brother/Sisterhood .

    Jordan Armstrong seems to be the front people kind on this story for Global, it is time he asked the Government and the Union Heads who are on television each and every night just exactly what absenteeism happens to be, you would be shocked and you would be disgusted .

    Keep in mind that the sick/stress and whatever kind of other “Leave” is compounded by the now COVID Leave .

    (Edited….the topic is BC Ambulance service.)

    https://globalnews.ca/news/5837361/alberta-government-workers-sick-days-canada-taxpayers-federation/

    Over to YOU JORDAN .

    Let’s hear YOU on air ask the Paramedics Union Head about the Absenteeism Numbers of his Union Members, hen watch him choke on his Turkey Sandwich .

    There are enough Sick and Stress leave Paramedics OFF each and every day to cover the 30 Ambulances parked all over B.C., ask anyone that is honest, they will confirm that .

    The exact same thing goes for ALL other sector Unions .

    I suggest you ask he Canadian Tax Payers Association, they know about the whole sordid story and scam .

    WE the Tax Payer need and deserve much more transparency on this, it has gone on long enough and now the whole SCAM is being compounded by the Covid Pandemic and the Opioid Crisis .

    Yes Paramedics, other First Responders, Nurses and the rest work hard but so do the rest of the honest hard working Canadian work Force and those other Canadians ae not running a scam within the system .

    Disgusting and despicable .

    Enough is Enough .

    (Response: It would be interesting to know more about sick days, stress leaves and any other internal staffing problems within the Ambulance system today. Read the report the 2019 government commissioned and which I cited above. But being an Ambulance paramedic is unlike ANY other public service job: I shudder to even think about what they see, handle and treat on a single shift ..let alone day after day, week after week. So of course high stress goes along with the job. But if other provinces can manage the issue without so many reports of people waiting hours for an ambulance because there are simply none available, clearly the problem goes way beyond sick calls … and it’s time the government keeps its promise and solves the waiting time issue. h.o)

  7. BMCQ says:

    We the Tax Payer need a Full Accounting of what Sick Days, Stress Leave, Bereavement, and ANY other number of days off that Public Sector Workers at all Three Levels of Government, First Responders, Nurses, Teaches and all other Public Sector Employees benefit from eaqch and evry year, all of those numbers can be accessed reported and published by the Canadian tx Payers Association, it would be a more than worthwhile exercise for them and long over due .

    I took the time to count up my contacts/friends/relatives on the following

    Ambulance and Paramedics – 1

    VPD – 5

    VFD – Captains and Senior to Captains – 11

    I had conversations with VFD – 2 Members and VPD – 1 Member, their comments were all basically the same . Please keep in mind that the just mentioned are also Union Members but they are honest and do not like what they see . I was gratified to hear them speak up .

    Perhaps one or two of the contributors on this blog might be inclined to make a statement regarding this scam .

  8. HARRY LAWSON says:

    BCMQ

    If sick leave is on the rise we have to ask why ?

    Burn out and PTSD is a real clinical illness.

    You will always have a few who will abuse a system however I truly believe the higher than normal absetiasm is a symptom not the cause.

  9. The BC NDP are solely focused on rooting out the boogeyman of racism, especially in terms of health care. When the government is preoccupied with a moral panic not grounded in reality, problems are allowed to fester. I agree the fentanyl crisis is creating all sorts of strains on the system. Commenters on here have rightly pointed to some areas where the fentanyl crisis has created problems, but there’s even more. I believe the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons are a big problem, as well as the attitudes of many individual doctors. My experiences in the medical system have been downright shocking. The entire medical system in BC is one gigantic mess, and it was already highly dysfunctional before COVID-19 hit, which has only served to accerbate problems and given cover to longstanding problems, allowing them to fester. Management, communications staff (ie spin doctors), HR staff all need to be slashed with more emphasis on frontline staff. I also strongly believe Metro Vancouver/Lower Mainland need to be a single health authority, not two health authorities splitting the region down the middle at Boundary Road.

    (Response: I also see no sense in drawing a line down Boundary Road, creating too completely separate health regions. And readers will recall that it was this Blog that drew attention to the ridiculousness of Horgan’s announcement earlier that people would have to stay in “their own health region” …a restriction that was “clarified” out of existence the very next day. But I’m not sure how the Ambulance system operates …whether that ridiculous separation applies to Ambulance calls too. I sure hope not: but whatever the administrative setup, something is clearly VERY wrong from the point of view of the clients ..that’s US, the taxpayers who should get an ambulance PRONTO in an emergency… not have to wait HOURS for one to arrive. Especially when the NDP made it an Election PROMISE to correct the problem… four years ago! h.o)

  10. BMCQ says:

    Harry

    I wish very much that you were correct but the whole absenteeism scam has been getting worse year after year to where it is now a Pandemic unto itself and as always it is the Tax Payer who as in most cases is once again forced to pay for those that take advantage of a system that is flawed and unjust .

    I encourage you to do two things, read my attached pieces and find someone in the public sector unions that does not scam the system and they will confirm .

    It is in fact the Tax Payer that pays for the sick and stress leave scam that should have the PTSD .

    Sad but undeniable .

    15 Sick Days on average for Teacher’s ? That means some may take say 5 sick days on top of their over 3 months vacation time but some unbelievably are taking 25 or more days .

    NO ONE can square that Giant Circle .

    The Horror, The Horror !

    NO, I am not painting with a Broad Brush, just pointing out what is a Scam no matter orhow people put forth excuses and reasons to justify .

  11. NVG says:

    Canadian Taxpayers Federation has 5 members — why should we care what they think? or BMCQ

    by Dougald Lamont · for CBC News

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/canadian-taxpayer-federation-opinion-lamont-1.3802441

  12. jay says:

    BCMQ,

    How dare you accuse my brothers and sisters in paramedic roles of “scamming ” the system.
    These are people who go out of their way, giving up time with family and time to rest, to protect their communities.
    Many people n this job suffer. They get injured both mentally and physically. They deal with doing the job with no financial reward. They deal with the stress of being told that if they do not work 24+ hours in a small town the ambulance will go down and someone might die.
    We have been dealing with the opiod crisis and Covid crisis since day one and that is on top of all the stuff we already deal with.
    Your fire buddies fail to tell you about how they usually get to leave after the ambulance crew arrives.
    Absenteeism is a small problem that only gets bigger when the stress load and burnout becomes too much.
    As a paramedic and someone who has gone through PTSD from the job, you have no idea what we deal with on a daily basis. Your fire buddies have no idea.
    You think we are scamming the system? I suggest you look at the research related to stress injuries and PTSD.
    We face moral injuries multiple times a day. I am sorry if this causes us to have issues that you don’t get sitting behind your computer screen.
    Wanna come out and see..Let me know

  13. Richard Skelly says:

    We’re always advised to wait for an ambulance and not take ourselves or a stricken loved one to the emergency ward. Given the horror stories you relate, Harvey, I’d get my wife to take me to the ER—or vice versa—especially in the event of a suspected stroke. With strokes, time is so of the essence in getting tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) to break up clots and lessen the chance of lasting damage.

    Then again, with the supercilious admission clerks I’ve encountered over the years at ERs, I wouldn’t be surprised if they penalized patients who didn’t arrive by ambulances by making them wait.

    (Response: I still believe the best decision in an emergency overall is to call/wait for an ambulance … and the immediate medical care paramedics can provide, unless they indicate on the call to 911 it could take a long time. But clearly the system is not working the way it should …and certainly not the way the NDP promised! h.o)

  14. RIsaak says:

    I have many puzzling memories of the inefficiencies I witnessed in the last 9 years, 6&1/2 of which were spent caring for my now passed, cancer afflicted wife.

    Paramedics, in my interactions were a very professional, courteous & effective bunch. Never met one who was acting out or puzzling at all. The endless waits for parameds when admitting patients to ERs is real, inefficient and not publicized close to enough. My wife suffered a broken vertebrae, call to 911 after physician consult on phone, 20 min response time, 12 minute drive to Richmond general, then 5&1/2 hour wait for ER bed while ambulance & 2 paramedics are then out of service? Hardly efficient.

    Our medical system is bloated with management, many items in flux (not really any improvements whatsoever, most changes caused more stresses for us), inefficient, decades old technology used for some record keeping, much was still on paper, requiring me to play medical record courier, many times, the smart phones every staff member has are far more current than a old PC on windows XP.

    Hospital cleanliness, completely a joke. Minimal staff cleaning, all sorts of medical waste seen in corners, sometimes for days. Then magically just a day or 2 before accreditation inspections, more cleaners and a decent effort, then the day after accreditation, the same lax standards.

    I spent many days at Richmond hospital, loads of admin folks, parkade is a steady stream of non-medical, admin types, in my estimation many more than the number required, almost every interaction we had with them was far less than satisfactory.

    Case managers, home care administrators, hidden groups who administer health care, multiple health authorities, useless brochures describing services which are outdated & do not apply anymore, coupled with a complete lack of social worker interaction (if they cannot explain programs & services in their role as communication portals, seemingly done on a part time schedule).

    Watching kitchen workers dump huge bags of preprocessed slop into massive cauldrons, then walking by a staff luncheon with 30 feet of delectable food can be demoralizing.

    Trudeau campaigning in 2015, promising 3 billion increase in home care funding. Zero changes seen, actually cutbacks & eventually a complete withdrawl of home care services after months of arguing, many promised answers to pertinent queries not delivered, then after my wife’s passing, a half hearted apology, saying the ending of home care was a mistake (it ended on the day threatened and protested over for months before), then saying we’ll find out what went wrong and get back to you, still waiting 2&1/2 years later? Home care case managers, only met one 3&1/2 years after home care began. That first one was nice, but very ineffective, then a new one just as the cutting off of care was being suggested, then we satisfied many invasive requests for personal information, tax records, etc. we had 3 very pertinent questions about govt. policy changes, how they were being selectively enforced, 3 times promised answers from case manager and home care team lead, zero response.

    Home care lead, very chatty on the phone, never left the confines of the north tower in Richmond, I asked him on every conversation, “how many homes you supply service to have you personally visited”? After 3 years of asking he boldly told me, “visited 3 patients homes now”, laughable, 3 home care patients in our 48 unit condo complex, how manyy hundreds or more? Nice sample size. Upon complaining about some of his departments issues an offer to join a community health care group of some sort. Of course with 100% dependent spouse, cit backs & looming termination of home care service, a very insulting offer!

    Complaining about lies, broken promises, is next to worthless, this system is it’s own very self serving operation. 3 letters to Minister Dix, responses from a high level bureaucrat, zero results, zero accountability.

    Changes to the palliative care services my wife had and the callous conduct of health ministry employees did contribute to the timing of her demise, she was sick of watching me get stressed out (I tried very hard to shield her from such).

    Of course, almost in lockstep with the end of palliative care home help, Dix gave health care workers 2%+2%+2%. One cannot help but feel slighted with this fact!

    Sorry for going on, still a very raw emotional topic for me.

    (Response: Your feelings/experiences, I suspect, are shared by many others in probably every health region. Yes, you went “off topic” of ambulance services … and I don’t want the discussion to stray completely to hospital conditions etc. but I found your testimony so compelling, I thought everyone should read it ..including the politicians, bureaucrats and all their hired their strategists/experts who follow what goes on here. Maybe …just maybe ..it will help. h.o)

  15. Stu de Baker says:

    As I have said before, if you spray the place with enough words, you can get your agenda in without notice.

    When did a blog about paramedics open the gate to teacher bashing?
    Not only is it a broad brush, the latitude given to some here is wider than the prairies.

    (Response: You raise a difficult challenge I face in doing a Blog: I try to allow for a free flow of ideas/comments, while sticking at least BROADLY to the topic at hand but sometimes, when things go too off topic, I DO edit and indicate where I’ve cut remarks. In dealing with this topic, I realize that for some it comes down to use/abuse of taxpayers dollars, with far too generous time-off and “leave” provisions for public servants…be they paramedics or teachers or government workers in general. I may not agree, but find it fair discussion … and if it will help government refocus on whatever is needed to better use/regulate funds and working conditions to solve the ambulance delay crisis, I’m happy to allow it. h.o)

  16. HARRY LAWSON says:

    BCMQ

    Comparing any other public service issue to a ambulance issue is a discussion for another day. you may have valid points however the issue is ambulance services not teaching lol.

    I would be very interested to know the stats on all the other ambulance services across the country.

    If it is better why ? Is it worst why ?

    We need to put in the best possible practices, what is happening with the ambulance service is a a symptom of a disjointed health care system.

    You can throw all the cash at a broken system without a effective plan the system is still broken. The downtown east side is a prime example.

    The issue is now we deliver health care period .

    (Response: The “working” media should be able to get stats from provincial governments across the country on average wait times for ambulances in their various health regions. Perhaps the discussion here will encourage that … would be very interesting story (I’d bet the BC Health ministry already has that data!) but don’t expect the BC media to go after it or hold your breath: it could take too long to get an ambulance to you! h.o)

  17. BMCQ says:

    Jay

    Yes, I DO DARE .

    You know absolutely nothing about me . YOU know absolutely nothing about my background, what issues I have had to deal with in life or what I suffer from .

    As an example, DID YOU know my father died as the result of a Home Invasion in Yaletown ? I came home and found him and hen called Paramedics who arrived in a vey timely manner, perhaps you were there . How is your father Jay ?

    How Dare YOU Jay !

    I am not contending that ALL Public Sector Workers are “Scamming the System”, I covered that off in my initial post stating that THOSE Public Sector Employees that do not Scam the system KNOW SOME that do . How many do you know Jay ?

    Please deny that, tell me that YOU DO NOT know someone taking advantage of the system as it now stands .

    I am sorry and I sympathize with some of the trauma and horrific experiences but I also have a question for you and then a comment .

    When say 30 Ambulances are off the road on any given shift just how many paramedic staff are off with sickness and or stress leave .

    I want to know .

    (Edited…off topic.)

    You seem to put across that you are better than my Fire Buddies, and perhaps even my VFD Buddies, WHY?

    RIsaak

    My most sincere sympathies .

    Your post should be read by every single politician in the country, especially B.C.

    You make some great points about the system, there is Bloat and Waste everywhere and it is only getting worse each and every year . We need answers from politicians and we need answers from Public Sector Unions .

    In B.C. Health Care is close to 50% of he Provincial Budget with no end in sight, especially with an ever ageing population and family re unification which incudes oldsters that have gone perhaps a life time without decent medical care, think about that .,

    We are facing a disaster and we should ALL be allowed to argue, discuss, and debate everything about Paramedics, or anything else in the Health Care System without being vilified .

  18. r says:

    16 billion for site C
    0 for communities in crisis?

  19. Stu de Baker says:

    BMCQ, your indignant, high horse rant at Jay made my point up the page about agendas and wide latitude.

    Sorry, but we all know plenty about you; you keep reminding us of all your friends in high places, your multi ethnic family your father’s past vocation, as has your wife done, in your absence.

    (Edited… far too off topic which is ambulances as the major …with a minor in other government spending and related personal experiences. Have any to relate even broadly on topic?)

    Harry Lawson, thanks for backing up my position that this isn’t about teachers.

  20. jay says:

    BCMQ,

    “When say 30 Ambulances are off the road on any given shift just how many paramedic staff are off with sickness and or stress leave . ”

    Hate to burst your bubble but those cars are not out of service just due to sickness and stress leave.
    They are out of service due to holidays, emergency leaves, secondments to other areas, training days, and a whole plethora of other issues.

    Those 30 ambulances are out of service due to the employer failing to man them at overtime rates or with part time staff. That is their responsibility not the paramedics.
    There is a clause in the contract that allows for mandatory recall. Don’t think I have ever heard it used.
    It could also be due to a day crew getting a late transfer leaving the night crew with no unit to man.
    There are a ton of ways an ambulance goes out of service besides sick and stress leaves.
    Ask yourself why when there is a strike the employer wants every ambulance deemed essential and they rant and rave when one goes down, but when no strike they let this happen.
    This isn’t the fault of the paramedics. Sure there may be a couple out of the 60 that took a day that isn’t technically a sick day.
    But the employer tacitly encourages this. We have been told over and over again, if we are not mentally and physically able to work then don’t come in. Yet still some do it and others that don’t get threatened with disciplinary action.

    For your info the average number of sick days is 12 in our service. That’s 1 per month. Any more than 4 and you need to get a doctors certificate to verify you injury or illness so you are essentially calling paramedics liars. They are falsifying claims. Committing fraud.

    Gee how caring and thoughtful of you.

  21. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey.

    This post and a responder made me lose respect for them. We can choose to disagree, we can agree or what ever. The atempted hijacking of the blog for their own agenda is unacceptable.

    Kudos to you Harvey for your balance.

    I am surprised ambulance personnel have such few sick days used, think about it contagions,open wounds, body fluids ECT think about it.

    After my wife went into hospital for the last time he for the care home ,she left some tictaks on the side table ,turned out she was hiding her meds in the container. The paramedics saved my life , spent a week in ICU . Never want to see charcoal again lol.

    Don’t want to go edited off topic

    Please take other agendas elswhere stick to the subject of get your own blog

  22. nonconfidencevote says:

    @r
    “16 billion for site C
    0 for communities in crisis?”

    ++++

    Touche!

    It’s about Union jobs/VOTES in the north….
    Communities in crisis are way way way down the voter/ campaign list.

  23. nonconfidencevote says:

    @ jay

    I remember a coworker of mine who was totally gungho about becoming a paramedic about 20 years ago.
    He was a big, smart, enthusiastic kid with multiple first aid qualifications.
    He volunteered for over a year on weekends and some nights after work in ambulances in the downtown east side all the way out to Hope.
    He was on call 24/7 without pay.
    He loved it.
    Some of the stories he told were gut wrenching.
    Mouth to mouth after an O.D. patient had vomitted into the rebreather mask.
    And when that OD patient “came back” and regained consciousness ….punched him in the face.
    He stuck it out.
    Loved the work.
    Got hired and quit with us….
    But part of the Paramedic “school” was…..volunteering for no wages for months and even years BEFORE they were hired and got a full time paid job…..

    Is that still the situation?

  24. BMCQ says:

    Jay – It is not that important but it is BMCQ

    I suppose you and I may never agree on much considering this discussion and others we have had in the past .

    No bubble burst, all I care about is getting patients good care in a timely manner and that is not taken place at this time and citizens deserve to know why, they deserve truth and transparency, as things are now patients, their families are getting nowhere near truth or transparency .

    I will not relent, I care nothing about people’s feelings, I care about patients, their families, and the taxpayer.

    I also care about first responders of all kinds, I was on record on this blog stating that Police, fire, paramedics, nurses, Dr., retail, restaurant teachers and more similar should have been in line equally with 80 year old plus for vaccines, I value all of those and have many as friends and family .

    Thank you for the clarity on the reasons you have put forward for 30 or more ambulances being off the road on a regular basis, this is not acceptable and you may agree with me when I say the province needs to assemble a judicial inquiry of how and why, we all need a full report from an independent commission .

    I have been in business for an extended period of time and I have never once a Doctor turn down any request for paid time off regardless of union structured sick day Regs, sorry it does not happen . I have seen on many occasions where an employee says he told the Dr. they only needed one or two days and the Dr. Said take a week and indeed even extended that . Doctors notes are easy and I am sure anyone that is honest would admit that .

    I am fully confident the information o have is fact stress and sick days are a pandemic with paramedics and indeed in the public sector .

    You seem to think 12 days sick is nothing, within reason, and acceptable, I do not agree and I am willing to accept any criticism given, I am more than used to the criticism and vacate I receive from regular punters here who only offer criticism of BMCQ and nothing constructive or of consequence .

    As a Taxpayer and concerned citizen I would still like to know HOW MANY Stress Days paramedics take/get on average in a year, and just how many different times in a year paramedics take one, two, three, four, or more Stress Days away from the job . I know the stats for that are out there somewhere .

    You accuse me of calling Paramedics Liars, let me ask you this, DO YOU know of any that “Work the System”, take advantage ? Now I am asking you to be honest .

    Care to comment ?

    I am not trying to disrespect anyone or any chosen vocation but between what insight you have offered up which is much appreciated and seems well founded and with the questions I have we might get the facts and the reasons why the system is disintegrating around us and people/patients are suffering and in danger .

    Is that so wrong ?

    Sometimes the argument, the discussion, and the debate can be difficult and in fact hurtful but I strongly feel my concerns are legitimate and I am well aware that a very high percentage of the contributors here want the truth and nothing but the truth but they are sometimes hesitant to speak up .

    That has never been a problem for me .

    Be safe out there Jay, you are doing God’s Work !

    Your family must be proud of you .

    …………

    Stu

    My apologies, I did not realize it was offensive to have a multi racial family .
    I have never, not once, spoken of my Fathers Vocation .

  25. jay says:

    Nonconfidencevote,

    Sadly yes. Most part time staff who are hired these days work in a station that is what is called a ” KILO” station. those paramedics make $2.00 an hour on pager. If they get a call then they get full wage for 4 hours but in some stations that is very rare.
    There were FOX stations where crews made $10 an hour but had to be ready within 90 seconds to respond.
    FOX will be eliminated soon and so some stations will go back to KILO or will go to full time.
    Some part time members are lucky and have gotten full time positions while others have basically had their jobs disappeared.
    If you don’t work in a urban or metro area it is likely you will be making terrible wages and that is the issue.
    I would love to see a doctor or nurse or police officer on a $2 an hour rate. Hell even someone at 711 gets paid 15 dollars an hour if they have no customers.
    This is the fate of many.

    But wait..you get full time. You go to Vancouver or some metro center. You do up to 22 calls in a 12 hour shift. You see the worst things that many people don’t know of. You expose yourself to every thing conceivable. Yet you get chastised because you don’t want to work extra shifts. You are a horrible person because you got PTSD and needed time off. You suck because you got sick. My god it is your fault that an ambulance goes down even though your employer fails to fill your spot. So some observer who has never worked on an ambulance can rant and blame.
    Sad.

  26. e.a.f. says:

    Jay’s earlier response to BMCQ is right on.
    Paramedics are suffering from burn out and PTSD. The work they do is amazing. They deal with death and over doses constantly. If you are dealing with fent. overdoses ever day, its get to you. How many dead people do you see each and every day BMCQ? How many people have you tried to save while they’re overdosing and family members are some times around. They have to deal with it all. They go to traffic accidents where there are mangled bodies. How many of the complainers have to deal with that? Do you think that doesn’t impact the paramedics? PTSD is not a scam. Have you ever had PTSD? Have you been involved in incidents week after week which can result in PTSD? In 2015 Canada had 13 suicides of first responders in 10 weeks. I couldn’t find anything newer but it is doubtful things have changed much. I also found an article which advised paramedics have the highest rate of PTSD of any first responders. Sound like a scam BCMQ. You know all those gang shootings we have in B.C. Well paramedics go to most of them. Its called PTSD and its not a scam. Its a serious condition.
    One commenter wrote about the $2 an hr. salary. That has been going on for decades. I can remember that being a complaint with the B.C. Lieberals were in office.

    We’ve deal frequently with the Ambulance Service in Nanaimo and we haven’t experienced any of the issues listed in this article or comments. The paramedics are timely, professional, hard working, actually they’re amazing.

    In some areas the problem of hold ups, is the hospitals. Paramedics have to wait with the patients until they are admitted. if that takes a long time, they are not out on the road for more calls. then there is the no small problem of people calling an ambulance because they don’t have a car and they don’t want to call a cab because a lot of people don’t want to use them during this time of COVID.

    Do not blame the paramedics for what is wrong with the system . The problems were there during the B.C. Lieberals reign. You might want to complain about the NDP, but they simply inherited the problem. Now they might have promised to fix it, but that has not happened. they might have been a tad busy with fent. over doses, COVID, etc.

    If there is a shortage of paramedics in Greater Vancouver or Victoria, I’m not surprised. The cost of housing is simply too great. People prefer to live somewhere they can afford to live or engage in another profession. A number of paramedics are transferring out of greater vancouver to places they can actually afford to own or rent a decent home.
    The issue of rural paramedics has been on going for decades. If you have a closer look you will notice most of those areas also only have volunteer fire departments. No government has ever tried to deal with these issues because they cost money. Money no government wants to spend because if money is to be spent, its spent in the larger populated areas.

    What interests me, is why the fire department didn’t show up when the paramedics can’t get there. While living in Cedar, Nanaimo when the paramedics were going to be longer than the required time, the volunteer fire department arrived, especially in snow season. the training those fire fighters had was sufficient to keep people alive.

    As to Isaak’s comments regarding dirty hospitals, oh, yes and you can thank el gordo for those. One of his first acts was to fire all house keeping staff and privitize it and hospitals haven’t been clean yet. RGH isn’t clean and neither is any other. I’ve been in more than a few. I’ve been in grocery stores which are much, much cleaner. B.C. Ferries are cleaner than hospitals. Their staff actually know how to clean. I’ve watched them on the 10:45 p.m. Hospitals aren’t clean because staff are over worked. Their pay is so low, they work two jobs. The contracts with the cleaning corporations spell out how often things are cleaned. They don’t get cleaned again. If the hospital room’s bathroom is too dirty to use, some times the R.N.s clean them. Yes, 5 years of university and they’re cleaning toilets so patients can use them because the contractors, only clean them once or twice a day and some of those rooms have 4 people in them or there are no cleaners on the floors early in the morning.

    The B.C. ambulance service has problems, but they aren’t the paramedics. They work hard and earn their money. For those rural stations, if they were to be staffed full time, the next thing we’d hear is people complaining they’re just sitting there doing nothing, why pay them for that. The government might want to provide fire departments for all these rural towns who also can double as paramedics and ambulance drivers.

    Of course all of this is going to cost money and people don’t like paying taxes.

    (Response: You’re correct: people don’t like paying taxes. But we already DO pay HUGE amounts of taxes at several government/agency levels .. at least those of us who don’t have lawyers/accountants/fund managers to avoid the loopholes. It’s about p[riorities and as I stated earlier, I believe every taxpayer could come up with a whole list of NDP spending that could/should go to the priority of getting us ambulances when we need them: lives are at stake. h.o)

  27. Not Sure says:

    I want to thank Jay and his colleagues for the work they do. I have never been in an ambulance but I had to call for one on two different occasions when my mom was still living with us. An 80 year old collapsing for no apparent reason and being unable to get herself off the floor is scary. Nothing but flawless professionalism on the part of the paramedics. Kind. Compassionate. Reassuring to both mom and myself.

    That is my experience with ambulance services: no complaints. And I am guessing that goes for most of us.

    Does that make the system perfect? Of course not. So what needs to be done?

    Your headline accuses the government. Fair enough. Jay mentioned recruitment, retention and wages. Also fair enough. What can the government do?

    Hire more people? (Are there enough people being trained to hire?) Shorten the shifts or work week so stress is minimized and people can stay on the job? (That requires more people.) Pay them more? I am guessing that these questions are not unique to BC. Maybe we are, but I would be surprised if the problems we are facing are that much worse than in other provinces. Still, we can learn from successes elsewhere.

    Again Harvey, too complicated a topic for my little brain. But we are lucky to have an expert here if Jay is willing to answer some of our questions from his perspective. After a year and a half of pandemic stress added on to an already stressful job, the least we can do is listen to one of our frontline workers.

    (Response: I didn’t “accuse” the government of failing to keep its promise: I stated the proven truth. Over the past several months people who suffered or families whose relatives died or those who work directly inside the ambulance system have told their TRUTHS of waiting HOURS for an ambulance while unused fully equipped ambulances sat idle in parking lots. And I suspect every reader of this Blog could come up with a list of projects the NDP government has spent money on that could/should have gone instead to the NDP keeping the promise it made to voters in 2017 … that no one would be kept waiting for an ambulance. h.o.)

  28. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Thank you, Jay, for your insider information on the current reality for ambulance paramedics. And thank you for your service.

    Although my main career has been teaching, I was a part-timer in Hope from 1981 to ’93 and I still recall many of the hundreds of situations I responded to. Most of them had positive outcomes, thankfully — but I can imagine the mental baggage a full-timer stores up after just a month in a busy metro area. Full props to all first responders — including the search-and-rescue volunteers around the province.

    Even back in the 80s, the government was putting the screws to the ambulance service, which I would say is seen as the most picked-on of the medical/first response professionals. I’m only guessing that it’s because ambulance services were the last to get organized and they’ve been trying to catch up to the doctors, nurses, police and firefighters ever since.

  29. 13 says:

    For a number of years I lived in a townhouse complex next door to a paramedic. He was home for extremely long stretches of time . He was often off on stress leave. To watch his activities he seemed pretty normal to my untrained eye. He spent a lot of time with his two young children. I did notice he was constantly buttung heads with the strata council. He had a hard time with the rules designed to keep the common property looking uniform. Just an observation and as focused as I can get. I dont think he was a lone wolfe

  30. Not Sure says:

    Harvey, I agree with you. The government should be fixing something they promised to fix.

    But Jay’s posts have been a real eye opener for me. This is more than just we have to do more for the users of the service. To improve the service we have to do more for the paramedics as well. And that if I am reading Jay correctly, requires more trained personnel and higher wages both of which cost money.

    If the answer is a simple “spend the money”, then spend the money. Don’t expect workers to take extra stress filled shifts or hope that carrying a pager for $2/hour will solve this. And this shouldn’t be a trade off. Save the debate about what programs should be eliminated or what savings can be made elsewhere or what taxes should be raised for budget day.

    And I still hope Jay continues to post. He has detailed problems. Maybe he could tell us what he would like to see the government do, especially to improve wait times. It is not often that we have someone with his knowledge and background talking about one of the topics.

    (Response: I think one of the strengths of this Blog is the discussion that takes place after a topic is posted. It really is democracy in action and I believe it has helped effect action, changes and improvements to various programs and policies. I hope so. h.o)

  31. jay says:

    BMCQ,

    As I have already stated there are probably some who “game” the system sometimes but that is not the majority and certainly not why 30 ambulances go down in one day.

    You think 12 sick days is too many? In a year?
    You do realize that we work in health care?
    You do not come to work when ill in health care. That puts everyone at risk. You don’t do this because you are dealing with people who are immuno-compromised. You don’t do this because catching a simple flu could kill a patient who already has shortness of breath or a heart condition.
    You don’t do this because being sick compromises your health and your ability to think clearly.
    You stay home because you can be contagious for many days while symptomatic so a flu could sideline you for a week by itself.
    Maybe you have diabetes and your sugars are wacky so your doctor says to not drive or work until they are stable.
    Maybe you are stressed to the point that you can’t make fast and clear decisions.
    Maybe you’ve done 22 calls a shift for 3 days and just plainly have no bodily strength to work another day.
    Maybe you have a combination of all of these in a year.

    12 shifts is not a lot.

    I have had PTSD twice in my career. It is debilitating. I spent 9 months off the first time and am sitting at 18 months this time. I have had to go through in patient treatment, follow up treatment, GRTWs, retraining and a plethora of other things to get back to work. It is no joke. It led to a couple suicide attempts and I personally know atleast 3 people who killed themselves in this job.
    It isn’t something that goes away in a day or 2 so you’ll forgive me if I don’t apologize for being off for a while.

  32. BMCQ says:

    I am going to apologize to he Public sector Workers that DO NOT take advantage of a system which is broken, I still stand by my contention that a too high percentage of public sector workers take advantage of the system and taxpayers who never seem to get a fair shake .

    I am sorry but it is impossible for me to mention Public sector Workers as a whole as the problem runs right through the Public Sector, not just Paramedics . None of you can claim I am/was off topic . That is if you care about what is wrong with the system, shouyld we not care ?

    As stated to Jay, Paramedics and most other Public sector Workers and First Responders are the Life Blood of the Canadian Society but things are not quite right and the problems need to be addressed .

    Jay more than likely makes valid points about the problems he identified and I do not argue with that . I DO NOT necessarily believe it is just the NDP Gov that is at fault here, the problems have been growing and manifesting like a stinking cesspool of garbage for far too long and it has not been addressed properly or seriously .

    Again, vilify me if you wish but thee is “Rot in the System” and it cannot continue to he point where Health Care costs increase o say 60% and Education say 30% of he provincial Budget, wha would we have left .

    I will not apologize for speaking out .

    eaf accuses me of not haveing experienced PTSD or some other Stress etc. in my life, how would she know what i have experienced, most people handle stress differently and some handle it well, it depends on many things .

    As mentioned up the page, I did find my 91 year old Father a few minutes after he was knifed twice (YES TWICE) during a home invasion and went with him to St. Pauls Hospital where he died a few days later, can that be classified as somewhat stressful ?

    I did have a Sister that died from a Drug Overdose after many many Drug Overdoses she went through over a few years, can that be classified as somewhat stressful ?

    Yes eaf, I could list more but I will not, I do not think I would get any sympathy anyway .

    We all have trauma, stress, and PTSD of certain levels in our life and yes Fire who usually arrive first see a lot as do paramedics, I do not argue that but the System is Broken and the Tax Payer is being stretched to the limit .

    Again, the Citizens of B.C. need more Transparency and we need more answers as to what is taking place with Paramedics and the ability to get to patients and then transport those injured or sick to treatment in hospital and we need to ensure that the bickering and petty politics is taken out of this picture, too many innocent lives at risk.

    I do not mean to upset people but…………

  33. NVG says:

    https://www.knowledge.ca/program/paramedics

    As close to reality as the public can get to paramedics jobs/lives without having to read here of a disgruntled employer expressing his personal feelings about how his Workers, and their Doctors, communicate with one another on the best means of dealing with a work related injury so that they can recover, and get back to work.

    BMCQ’s comment:

    ‘I have been in business for an extended period of time and I have never once a Doctor turn down any request for paid time off regardless of union structured sick day Regs, sorry it does not happen . I have seen on many occasions where an employee says he told the Dr. they only needed one or two days and the Dr. Said take a week and indeed even extended that . Doctors notes are easy and I am sure anyone that is honest would admit that.’

  34. Stu de Baker says:

    (Edited…off topic. Your primary motive seems to be tearing apart the Blog itself and those who participate. Anything to offer, pro or con ideas, statistics or comments on topic …which is the NDP failure to keep its promise?

    March 29 2011, Keeping It Real;
    http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/real-change-madam-premier-the-paramedics-are-waiting/
    >>>And I don’t think there’s a better place for her (Clark) to start than wading into the swamp surrounding the disgraceful treatment of the province’s paramedics by the Campbell government and its minions.<<>> But the public and the media are finally catching on to how badly treated the paramedics have been .. and their message is now getting through. HO.

    More from 2009, 12 years ago. A monumental HO rant year.

    BMCQ, please note, Campbell, Clark and likely others before them.

    (Edited…off topic.)

    Jay, I too thank you for your service.

    (Response: Glad you noticed unacceptable Ambulance service levels are NOT a new problem: the issue has plagued BC for years…and I have pointed it out before …maybe even helped get the NDP to include their promise in the 2017 Election Platform to solve it! Now, in 2021 they should FINALLY keep their promise … before more suffer or die needlessly. h.o)

  35. Stu de Baker says:

    Harvey, you completely missed my point and gutting my comments distorted my onside, on topic, remarks; jay, Jason and others have exposed this before, you have written about it before and successive governments have done nothing.

    You ask for on topic comments, I give them and you see stuff that isn’t there.

    (Edited… off topic, which is the CURRENT NDP government’s failure to keep ITS OWN election promise from 2017. h.o))

    My point is, pick a topic, be indignant, rant, and before long it fades, the jays still suffer and through a succession of governments, nothing is done.”

    Please, please, tell me how that is my “primary motive seems to be tearing apart the Blog itself and those who participate.”

    (Response: Because rather than address the topic …which is the CURRENT NDP government’s failure to keep its 2017 Election promise, your comments … like now … seemed to me more aimed at diverting attention to other factors/people. h.o)

  36. jay says:

    BMCQ,

    “We all have trauma, stress, and PTSD of certain levels in our life and yes Fire who usually arrive first see a lot as do paramedics, I do not argue that but the System is Broken and the Tax Payer is being stretched to the limit .”

    This is true and from my point of view it all stems with the employer trying to run a modern ambulance service using 1980s thinking and budgets.
    The employer needs to realize that pager pay is unsustainable in this day and age.
    They need to understand that the days of being hired with just a first aid ticket are long gone.
    They need to remember that times have changed. Their part time staff no longer work in mills and forestry and other high paying jobs. That they were weekend warriors.
    They have to realize that they had staff commuting hours from home on their own dime to get paid 24 dollars a day sometimes.
    Then you would get some forward thinking COO and just when you thought things would change for the better, they yanked him to another ministry or job and we are right back where we started from.
    You had a COO who compared us to care aides.

    What needs to be done is someone needs to have the guts to go to the government and ask for enough money to double the budget. This would bring us to a point where we can bring wages to par with police and fire. This would allow for more hiring and more cars on the road. Better wages and a lower workload leads to more retention and less burn out. It reduces sick time.
    There also needs to be a drive to stopping frivolous calls. We should not be a taxi service and certainly not be dealing with calls that could easily go to a clinic.
    We should not be waiting in hospital hallways for hours on end.

    There a lot of problems, we just need people with a will and drive to fix them.

  37. jay says:

    One further point.

    Did you know that the ambulance service is not considered an essential service?
    The only time it becomes essential is when the union threatens to strike.

    Ponder that

  38. nonconfidencevote says:

    @ Jay
    ” Most part time staff who are hired these days work in a station that is what is called a ” KILO” station. those paramedics make $2.00 an hour on pager. If they get a call then they get full wage for 4 hours but in some stations that is very rare.
    There were FOX stations where crews made $10 an hour but had to be ready within 90 seconds to respond.”

    ++++

    I dont think the majority of people realize how many Paramedics are volunteering “on call/part time” to eventually get a full time job.

    One can only imagine the bitching and moaning if EVERY job required years of “voluteering” before you finally qualify for full time status.

    In todays extremely low unemployment rate and high skilled worker demands…..
    Why would anyone, other than people truly interested in helping people in need, want to work as a paramedic?

  39. e.a.f. says:

    Harvey, its true we do pay a tad more taxes than the Americans but then we have health care, which they don’t. Not like us. We get fairly decent service for the amount of taxes we pay. Of course when compared to our European cousins, we don’t pay that much in taxes. As to wealthy people (the .01%ers) not paying sufficient taxes and corporations, yes, we need a tax over haul in this country. When accounting firms help clients do things which are illegal and when the government catches them all they’re required to do is pay the money, but no fines, its an inequitable situation. We might want to do away with things such as off shore trusts. If the money is made in Canada, they ought to pay taxes on it in Canada not some other country where they are registered.

    BMCQ, I am truly sorry about the loss of your Father in such a horrific manner. I know you’ve written about your sister’s drug issues in the past.

    We all go through horrible things in our lives but it is not part of our working lives. Most of us have time to heal. Paramedics have to go back to work the next day or in some cases onto the next call, where it can be worse.

    Many have made valid points here. In my opinion, the ambulance service needs an overhaul from the top. Over the decades there has been more than one article about what goes on at the top and it wasn’t “pretty”. O.K. some of it was like scandal, as I recall.

    (Response: We agree: the ambulance service needs an overhaul. It’s about time the NDP government did something more effective … than just making empty promises in its Election Platform. h.o)

  40. Gilbert says:

    I’m not an expert on this topic, so I’ll just make a few points.

    It’s unacceptable to blame the health care problem on previous governments. It’s time for all governments to keep their promises.

    Is the BC Liberal Party the only one that lies? Of course not. It’s true of every party.

    Maybe it’s time to privatize some services and find ways to make our health care more efficient.

    Why is ambulance service not classified as essential? It should be.

    How does Canadian health care compare to Norwegian, German, French, British and Japanese? That would be great to know.

    (Response: Right on! “It’s time for all governments to keep their promises.” That’s the issue. The NDP has either FAILED its 2017 PROMISE to end long ambulance waits …or it plain LIED to the voters. Going back in history to show other governments long ago (Liberal, NDP, Social Credit (LOL) also failed is just a red herring …aimed at diverting attention away from the current regime’s lousy record in dealing with a critical issue that no doubt worries a lot more British Columbians than some of the other issues/projects the NDP has spent millions and millions of taxpayers’ dollars on. h.o)

  41. RIsaak says:

    I personally know 5 ex-paramedics. All left due to the many concerns listed above by Jay & others. These are great humans who were disrespected or felt disrespected enough to leave BCAS. We should be asking what causes decent, trained, professionals to leave in middle age? 2 have PTSD, one is a lifelong close friend, he has on occasion delved into the cause, fishing a car full of children from a river (same age as his) when a parent was trying to commit suicide. I cannot say how such would effect my mind, but I can imagine the coping mechanisms would need to be super good to overcome such for many family folks. Thanks to our many first responders for doing tasks I would be very hesitant to do myself!

  42. BMCQ says:

    I am saddened and at the same time thankful NonCon asked the question about how Paramedics begin their careers, we need a massive improvement in that all the way around, why is it that NO Political Party/Government has not addressed this, it is only common sense that the Province ensures a fair and balanced approach to the hiring, training, and oversee of the Paramedic/Ambulance Service .

    I am also thankful for the insight provided by Jay to the Non Con questions, I only wish someone else in the Paramedics would speak up on this, the people of B.C. need to know and understand what takes place in the Ambulance Service, do not worry I can take the punches .

    I am also happy to see that H.O. and and a contributor pointed out how long this problem has existed, talk about a mess and only getting worse . I suppose this was somewhat of an election issue but like so many promises it gets slid onto the Back Burner until the next Election, should we be surprised ?

    Whether it be the NDP or the B.C. Liberals this should AGAIN be part of the next Election Platform but both parties need to take this on now, especially in the “Days of the Opioid Crisis”, people on this Blog and Social Justice Warriors and Engineers do not realize that the OC is the biggest cancer in society today in either the U.S. or Canada, and let’s be sure it is in fact the Fire Service, the Paramedics/Ambulance Service, and the Police who are on the front lines right along with the ER Staff, Nurses, and Doctors . It is time to quite talking about the OC and it is time to begin apprehending the addicted, put them through detox and then rehab, we could save thousands of lives and we could save the careers of Paramedics/Ambulance, Police, and ?Fire Service . It is time to act and it is time to discount every opinion put forward for those that work in the Poverty Industry, what they are now doing IS NOT working . How much do you want families of the drug addicted to put up with, is there not already enough carnage and death ?

    Jay does not agree with me about much, he might argue with me about the weather but surely he can see my point, what we are doing is failing and we must take the management of the Opioid Crisis out of the hands of the Poverty Pimps .

    As I have seen myself the ER’s are full of drug addled, alcohol addicted street people, a high percentage of them here on non returnable warrants from other and they mostly arrive there by Ambulance, that should ell us a lot, some of them are taken in several times a week or even in a day, some are actually receiving Narcan Injections multiple times a day, I had three (one succumbed) life long friends living on the DES, we cannot continue to rely on the Fire and Paramedics to continue to “Go to War” with he Cesspool of Challenges that are literally ripping the heart of our downtown and outlying areas, we need action from government now .

    There is absolutely no reason that Paramedics should not be in exactly he same structure as the Fire Dept, they should be considered one in he same, the structure as it now stands makes absolutely no sense at all. To me as an outsider the U.S. structure of Fire and Paramedics working together out of the same Hall seems to make sense, only my opinion but it also seems to work . Why have separate stations for Ambulance and Fire, thee seems to be a problem with that .

    Jay

    I read and then re read your last paragraph of your posted June 9, 2021 at 9:59 pm 3 more times and I sympathize with you situation greatly .

    Without resurrecting my “Scam” comments I think you sort of made my point . I am not saying you are playing the system but there is definitely something very very wrong and I stand by my comments stating that stress and medical leave is at “Epidemic Levels” in the Public Sector and the Tax Payer needs answers now . Between legitimate absenteeism and what I call playing the system we have a Cancerous like Growth in the Public sector and trust me, Canadian Tax Payers cannot continue to go on this way .

    Good Luck to you Jay, my heart goes out to you .

    NVG

    We have many Unionized Employees in our organization that have been with us for well over 20 years, a 25 year employee just retired, most that have been here over 10 years own heir own housing, people like working here and they are treated with respect and valued greatly .

    Vilify me if it gives you satisfaction but I sand by my words, Doctors Notes are far too easy to acquire and that is also part of the problem .

  43. NVG says:

    BMCQ. It’s not a question of ‘vilify’, its about the health and well-being of your employees and indirectly to your company. Having an employee disregard the Doctor’s order, especially if its related to WorkSafeBC, and he’s re injured later because he was ‘feeling’ better, encouragememt by the company will not bode well for anyone. Writing about your employees health here is totally inappropriate.
    ————
    And its none of your business as to how many Paramedics are off sick.

    BMCQ:
    “Yes people get sick but what is taking place now is simply a SCAM . Ever notice how the Union Heads being interviewed are so appalled ? Ask them how many of the Paramedics are off sick or on stress leave, then watch him fumble for an answer . “

  44. BMCQ says:

    NVG

    I do not know about you but I am a Tax Payer and only a fool would say it is not my business how many Paramedics or any other Public Sector are off for any reason, especially reasons that may Border in “Scamming” a system that appears to bet up to easily take advantage of . Dislike me all you want but please do not let that dislike for BMCQ interfere with good common sense and logic, you look silly and you do yourself no favours . As POTUS Joe Biden might be heard to say, Come On Man”, “No Joke” .

    Sorry, IT IS my business I actually care about the financial stability of every single Canadian, especially your children and grandchildren who will no doubt be required to pay for the mistakes of inept and incapable Leaders of Today who cannot control absenteeism of so many different types including those that take advantage of the failing system . Tough for you to understand but with the sliding morality in this country too many in the system are willing to take advantage .

    Not sure if you heard the Michael Smyth NW Segment when the Paramedic Union Head was being interviewed but I did . After the interview Smyth took calls and guess what one of those callers stated ?

    He said the following, “I was playing golf and put together with two Paramedics who told me they had called in sick that day so they could play golf, how many others are like that knowing the system is short of staff to manage Ambulances “ ?

    If you do not believe me I suggest you audio vault the segment which was on sometime before 11 AM . BTW – I was not that caller .

    And YES IT IS a question of Vilify .

    And yes as a Tax Payer it is my business, it should be yours as well .

    Silly .

  45. BMCQ says:

    NVG

    No one that works in my business has ever disregarded Doctors orders .

    Some had suggested to their Dr. That They did not need the time off the Dr. recommended but they Did Not disregard the Doctors Orders . Those employees took the time away that was recommended by the Doctor .

    Simple as that .

  46. Marge says:

    @ NVG “And its none of your business as to how many Paramedics are off sick.”

    It’s all of our business as we taxpayers pay for the paramedics. If they are not being paid properly or not being looked after properly when injured on the job, we all pay dearly. And if some are scamming the system, we need to look at that too.

    And here are my own personal experiences with paramedics. A friend of ours suffered a heart attack while out on a walk with his wife. She called 911 on her cell phone and the paramedics came. Unfortunately, they were two young females who were unable to get our friend (six foot tall, 200 pounds) into the ambulance. They had to call their supervisor who arrived quite a bit of time later to help them. My friend was lucky in that he survived but the outcome could have been differently. When my own husband started having chest pains, he drove himself to the hospital rather than wait for hours for the ambulance to come!

  47. Jay says:

    You know it always amazes me how everyone jumps on rhe anomalies in the system and seems to think this makes it rampant.
    2 guys book off sick so naturally the system is being scammed on a massive level.
    2 female paramedics had an issue so blame them all.
    When these kind of things happen they are easy to fix….file a complaint.
    It will get investigated and you can bet if they find out some scammed the system they will be punished.
    Stop using the minority as the judgement against all.

  48. Not Sure says:

    I am going to assume this is all on topic because I am responding to things that have been said.

    When I first read your topic which was before any comments had been posted, I thought “Here we go. A field day for the NDP bashers.” So when I read BMCQ’s response I was taken aback. Instead of hitting out at the NDP he was attacking the paramedics. And he has septupled and octupled down on his comments. And I am not sure what he is hoping to gain. We are actually losing track of what the government needs to do.

    But first off and I know I am annoying when I “fact check” let’s look at his evidence. A less than hard hitting Maclean’s article which shows the difference between public and private sector absenteeism.

    (By the way, this is what he said to me about a month ago when I used a Maclean’s article to make a point: “when we talk about MacLeans or any other publication that was the beneficiary of Federal Liberal Government Funding the already very murky waters of Independent Unbiased Reporting can become somewhat Muddy” )

    So according to him, one of his source is somewhat muddy.

    His other source is a link that if anybody besides me took the time to click on would get you no where. Maybe a comma is missing. Fear not. I just googled the title in the link. Still didn’t get the whole scientific study but I got the abstract which mentions problems with both absenteeism and “presenteeism”- coming to work sick and the effects that has on the work place. It ends with this.

    “The perfect sick leave policy would discourage abuse — the proverbial sick day on the golf course — while encouraging employees with legitimate illnesses to stay home and recover, with special provisions for long-term disability. Unfortunately, no policy can guarantee the desired outcomes for all employees.”
    https://www.cmaj.ca/content/186/1/E5

    Nobody is going to argue too much with that conclusion, but does any of this sound like the massive scamming that he is suggesting.

    Oh yeh, his third source is some random guy on the radio who knew a couple of paramedics …

    As I said, this has been an eye opener for me. I am listening to Jay talking about the problems on the job, a job that he is good at and loves and a job that we want to be run with the most efficiency as possible as we are the ultimate beneficiaries of this service. It sounds to me that addressing some of the concerns that have been mentioned with some of the suggestions that have been given would likely result in less of the absenteeism that leaves ambulances out of service. Starting with an “attack the scammers”, if -IF – they even exist, is self-defeating.

    (Response: I know you like facts/figures. So you may find it interesting that CKNW’s Mike Smyth took up the ambulance topic Thursday and cited stats that showed BC meets the national standard/average for ambulance response time only 30% of the time. That’s not good enough! Especially for a government that made getting rid of wait times a part of its Election Platform. h.o)

  49. nonconfidencevote says:

    @ BMCQ
    “Sorry, IT IS my business I actually care about the financial stability of every single Canadian, especially your children and grandchildren who will no doubt be required to pay for the mistakes of inept and incapable Leaders of Today who…”

    ++++

    I guess that means you wont be voting for “Mr $400 Billion spent in One year” Trudeau in the next election?

  50. 13 says:

    Ive recently had the opportunity to spend about 12 hrs at the Chilliwack hopitals ER. Some of my observations were not surprising but a bit sickening.
    Paramedics and ambulances in que waiting to drop off their opiod clients. To use a washroom in the ER is complicated. I waited 20 mins for a washroom to become avail. Just as my “turn” came up a old couple and their nurse asked if they could go ahead of me. okay and the nurse said my moblity allowed me to use another washroom. As we approached the next washroom another victim of the opiod crisis rolled off of her stretcher and crawled on hands and knees into the washroom ahead of me. The nurse asked her to wait her turn. The woman ignored her and was just dragging her knapsack in and closed the door. The nurse looked at me and asked me if I could walk a bit further. Her next comment was ” That washroom will be out of service for2 or 3 hours . This cycle repeats itself so often that the staff in the ER are resigned to the futile job of bringing the opiod “victims” back to life only to see them back sooner than later. The PC system has failed. We need to be able to stop the stupidity. Our fearless leaders want to decrininalize hard drugs. Who will pay for the endless waste or resources

  51. BMCQ says:

    NonCon – 13 – Marge and………………

    Thanks for speaking out on this Marge, I find it rather irksome and frustrating that not enough People Kind on this blog are willing to stand up and speak out for what is right and just .

    Each and every Tax Payer should know and deserves to know what is taking place with Gov Waste at all three levels, especially with different sick days, stress leave and other fabricated unwarranted absences all billed to the Tax Payer .

    Just think how much better the Ambulance/Paramedic Service would be if the Tax Payer was getting value for money spent .

    Just think what it could mean to the people of B.C. and Canada if our Ambulance Service and other Public sector Divisions were “Efficient” and run like a major business ?

    Just think of how if there was proper oversight and management of any government division but especially the Ambulance Service that ensured the system was performing properly thee would certainly be more funds to provide Paramedic crews with wage parity with Fire, better equipment, better work conditions and better outcomes, it would be a win win for Canadians right across the country and it would be relief for the Tax Payer who may very well see Health Care in B.C up to over 50% of the Provincial Budget .

    What is wrong with oversight, good management, and accountability for all in the system including top heavy management and those that abuse the sick/stress leave system .

    This is all simple basic common sense, sound logic and competent management .

    The Opioid Crisis as pointed out by 13 and others is perhaps the greatest contributor to health problems reported by Ambulance/Paramedic staff and the Provincial Government needs to address this ever growing catastrophe before we are losing 25 thousand people a year, this is a never ending cycle . Yes, that Opioid Crisis will continue to haunt First Responders, ER Staff, Hospital Staff, Doctors and everyone else in Health Care, and if Government do not act now and in an aggressive way we could see a total collapse of he ER System and the ambulance System .

    Let’s give this some consideration .

    What if Canada/B.C. was able to get control of the Opioid Crisis and begin to apprehend, detox, and rehab drug addicted people from B.C. . How much beter and more efficient would that make he Ambulance Service ?

    Then send those with Drug Addled Felons with non returnable warrants from other provinces home to face the courts in their own provinces, that would save $ Millions of Dollars and more, that move itself would ease the strain on he Ambulance Service .
    Then provide the treatment suggested for locals, that would also ease pressures on the ambulance Service . Crime would be reduced, we would not then require more larger court houses, more judges, court staff, and more police as crime would be reduced dramatically . Ambulance Service would then be more efficient, less strained, we would have a healthier work force and the pressures of he job would be reduced dramatically .

    We would then in turn be able fund Ambulance/Paramedics properly ensure their well being, wage parity, and then deliver better health care for patients on the road and in the hospitals .

    Then we take a serious look and carry out an Audit that exposes the Corruption with Absenteeism and stress in all Public Sectors which obviously incudes the /ambulance/Paramedic Service right across this country including our own B.C. .

    That Audit would then lead to a reform of the sick Day/ Stress plan currently in place and between that and the other points listed we would have literally $ Billions of Dollars and more to fund better conditions for Seniors who built this country .

    For starters we need apolitical party in B.C. to campaign on fixing the Ambulance/Paramedic service in B.C. and that action would create a fire storm of support and it would win an election Everyone in B.C., especially the First Responders and the Ambulance/Paramedics would be better off within a few months .

    Do not come back at me with “Yes but that is so difficult and we should be paying more taxes”, that is simply moronic, we need to push for this now, Canada and B.C. cannot wait any longer , we cannot continue to go down the same path that inept, weak, moronic, politicians seem to be taking us, NO we cannot afford another $ 400 Billion .

    This can start with the ambulance Service and it can go on from thee .
    Patients, seniors, and the Ambulance Paramedics themselves need out help now .

    Harry

    I must say, I am distressed that you have lost respect for me, I always stand up for those in need, especially the Seniors in our society who seem to suffer the most when they are experience Poor or NO service from a broken Ambulance/Paramedic Group .

    Yes, I was/am critical of the sick and stress leave but it appears I was/am correct, I honestly do not care if I ruffle the odd feather or two as I am thinking about doing something to help people just like you .

    I offer no apologies and I stand by each and every word other than in my initial post where I may have stretched a little using the term “Scam” which I later clarified .

    I am right on this Harry, I will fight for this hill Harry, I will defend this hill Harry, and I will die on this hill Harry.

    I wish Jay and his colleagues nothing but the best but we need to address the problems within the service now, get the service running properly, take care of staffing levels and the health of the staff and we need an open transparent investigation and commission on what is going on with absenteeism in the Ambulance Service and every other Public Sector Classification right across this Province and Country .

    Citizens/ax Payers need to demand better, let’s hope if people create enough of a fuss the media will actually lift a finger to expose all of this .

    Or will media just continue to navel gaze and whistle while walking past he Grave Yards of Canadians affected by all of this

    I hope this is the last you hear from me on this Harry, again, sorry for you losing respect for me .

    (Response: You wrote “For starters we need apolitical party in B.C. to campaign on fixing the Ambulance/Paramedic service in B.C. ” . We already had that ..the NDP platform in 2017 called for exactly that. What we need is NOT a cparty to CAMPAIGN on that …but to keep its promise and DO it! h.o)

  52. ho says:

    testing the repair

  53. jay says:

    BMCQ,

    All novel ideas but I will point out a few things.

    The public at large knows nothing about how the ambulance service works or is funded. They know all about their local fire departments because they are paid locally by local taxes. The ambulance service is provincial. It comes of of the provincial coffers and no one really knows how those work.

    The public doesn’t actually pay the cost of an ambulance when they use it. The going rate is about $80 for an ambulance call. That is about $500 dollars below the actual cost of the crew, equipment, vehicle, fuel etc per call.
    This is also the reason a lot of non emergency calls tie up the system. If you had to pay $500+ dollars for an ambulance you wouldn’t call one for a sore nose or minor problem.

    Then there is the fact that the fees that do get sent out don’t always get paid and even when they do they apparently go into general revenue and not back the BCEHS.

    Ambulance services are not money makers. They are extensively money losers. Trying to run one under cost is lessening the level of care and accessibility.

    You think people really care about the ambulance service and the paramedics?

    A couple of years ago we tried to get enough signatures to force the government yo consider make the ambulance service essential. Yes that’s right it is not essential right now.
    This would have forced the government to agree to binding arbitration during negotiations. They have fought this tooth and nail for decades because that way they can get away with giving us ZERO percent increases and less that cost of living raises. It is now a fact that wages for paramedics have fallen around 30 percent behind police and fire. End result? Not enough signatures.

    So what does that do? Someone asked if there are enough trained people. Yes there probably are but they are not working for BCEHS, the go work in camps and mines etc for better wages than they would get through BCEHS. They go to other provinces. Some go into nursing or just plain give up on medicine and go to fire or police.

    So yeah management needs to be reviewed. Budgets need to be reviewed. Problems need to be solved. Problem is if your gonna let the foxes solve the problems the hen house is doomed.

    (Response: A problem could arise if people did have to pay $500 a call: yes, it would stop those with a sore nose …but it might also dissuade those with stroke etc. who can’t afford the $500. h.o)

  54. BMCQ says:

    I am going to assume we are fully operational .
    You take a great risk when blogging against any government in power Harvey, you take a chance of being hacked just like the Colonial Pipeline Grid System !

    Whoa, hold your horses, Do not worry “Not Sure” no need to “Fact Check”, that comment was meant to be in jest . Take it easy .

    Speaking of “NotSure”, I have a comment and question or two and I assume I am on safe ground as I am directly referencing the “Not Sure” comments and I also believe Harvey is in good humour as his Blog is once again up and running .

    Actually I do not consider it annoying that you fact-check Not Sure, but I do find it annoying and aggravating that you ONLY “Fact Check” BMCQ and pay absolutely no attention to “Whacked Out” and “Unhinged’ factles claims made by other posters, you must also wonder about that e.a.f. do you not ?

    And just how do you know Jay is “Good at his job” ? How could anyone know ? How the hell would you know if anyone of us are good at our jobs ? Psychic ? Seriously ?

    It seems to me that Some of us might be, could be, may have been good at our job but when one has largely been absent from any given job for long periods of time common sense would tell all but a few of us that “Being good at a job” whether it be fire, paramedic, dentistry, or chemist, it is yet to be determined . How curious .

    Let’s be honest, paramedics or any other first responders must meet or exceed certain standards and if those standards are not constant then it must be addressed .

    As to my attachments from MacLeans ? You missed my point, when a publication like MacLeans who favours Libersl, NDP, Leftist causes can find fault and actually point out problems with a “Scam” with unnecessary potentially fraud with absenteeism it tells me there INDEED is a Systemic problem in the Public Sector including Ambulance/Paramedics . Get it ?
    EVEN the discredited MacLeans recognizes there is a problem that needs addressing .

    “Facts Do Matter” . As Harvey points out AmbulanceParamedic Dispatch times in B.C. Are next to abysmal, DO YOU have any credible reasons as to why ?

    One last thing, as stated I am highly suspicious (with reason) that Ambulance/Paramedics absenteeism numbers which mean slower poorer response times are a “Clear and Present Danger”, a threat to ALL of our families of any age, can you deny that ?

    Just in case you are “Not Sure” I think I can help, just ask yourself this .

    How many BCTF Members did/do you know that abused the Sick Day Structure . You are not “A Random Guy” so I know you can give us the answer to that .

    No Muddy Waters here .

    YES, even MacLeans get my point .

    (Response; I had my own conspiratorial thoughts too … was it Putin, Xi, Hamas or any of a whole list of political, media types who brought down the Blog … but, alas, it was just another one of those technical “Updates” I always fear on any site or service I use. Luckily my server supplier and my tech wizard friend Chris were able to get KIR up and going again …at least until the next “update”! h.o)

    • jay says:

      So in your expert opinion, how long should a flu last? Sore back? PTSD? severe depressive disorder? Bronchitis?

      Any idea?
      What are you basing that on? An average person? Number of exposures? Variants? Repeat injuries?

      You want to throw a lot of people under the bus but you don’t even know the route of the bus.
      This has never been the fault of the paramedics. We are at the mercy of our employer and the government. We have to work with what we are given. They take advantage of our good nature and desire to help. How else could they get away with the system as it stands?
      Your attacks on the paramedics are pathetic. All you are doing is playing right into the employer and governments hands. They have wanted to strip our sick/injury benefits for a long time.
      We work in a high risk, high injury profession and I can tell you flat out that many don’t take the time off they need to recover from PTSD or illness or injury because they know there is some bean counter or armchair expert on sick leave that will try to get them disciplined or fired.

      There is no global sick leave scam. Individuals sure, I can’t deny that, but painting everyone with the same brush to ignorant and logically flawed.

  55. BMCQ says:

    JayHoq can you say, “
    The public does not pay the cost of an ambulance when they use it” ? They may not use cash, credit, or care card but they sure pay for the service .

    YES, no matter how YOU wish to “Spin” this IT DOES cost the Tax Payer Money!

    Why is it you think the public are so stupid, give them credit, the public also know there is something drastically wrong when public sector workers regardless of their job spend a lot of time on the bench compared to those very same Tax Payers who fund the system .

    You may not want to concede what I am saying is true and I seem to be only one taking a hard line of this issue but I am correct and like Tom Perry, “I won’t Back Down” .

    (Edited… off topic …which is ambulance service.)

    Yes we need a fix in the Ambulance/Paramedic Service but it is not all Government/Management who are at fault . Simply ask yourself, just how many of your colleagues are in a similar situation as you when it comes to “Down Time”, how can a system perform when there is an epidemic of absenteeism no matter the cause .

    Spin this as you wish but there is “Rot” in the Public Sector and it needs addressing now .
    Again, it will not be very long before Ambulance/Paramedics and the rest of the Health Care are over 50% of the B.C. Provincial Budget and that Jay is very problematic going forward .

    Again within 10 years Health Care will more than likely be 60% and Education at least 25% – 30% of the Provincial Budget and that does not leave much for the rest .

    The facts and numbers speak for themselves, how is it you can call me ignorant ?
    Logic has nothing to do with the facts when it comes to absenteeism in the Public Service Ambulance Service or any other Public Sector .

    (Edited..off topic)

    • jay says:

      I have never said the public is stupid, they simply don’t look beyond their local needs many times. You hear a lot of local complaints but when it comes to the provincial ambulance service, as long as the majority get what they need they are happy.
      I am not spinning anything, to claim so is sad.
      It seems you have a hate on for unions. You immediately attack the paramedics and not the management when cars go down.
      All of a sudden it is a “scam””conspiracy” that paramedics are sick and injured more that you like.
      The ambulance service will never be %50 of the provincial budget so stop being extremist. We are a very small part of health care and to be honest a valuable part. We deal with issues when they happen immediately and we are able to find out what a patient needs early. We treat patients to the point that many need little treatment in hospital thus reducing their stay time.
      We are involved in care plans for palliative care patients.
      We are able to identify patients that need early intervention with non critical issues so that they can be treated or directed to other services and thus not tie up the system.

      You act like we are uneducated cab drivers that just show up, throw a person on a cot and drive them to a hospital.
      That mentality has been gone for decades.

      Paramedics are part of the continuum of care that any patients gets. To deny that is just plain wrong.

      The ambulance paramedics in this province fight hard for every patient. They go out of their way to man cars at their own detriment. They do this as caring people and many times get little financial reward.

      Tell me mister BMCQ how many times in your life have you worked for $2 an hour with the prospect of having to deal with a life threatening situation?
      How many times were you asked to standby 15 days in a row for no pay so that there was a non essential ambulance available 24/7?
      How many times were you thrust into a multi-fatal situation and been told shake it off and do the next call?
      Ever looked into a dead childs eyes then had to take a 95 year old to a cancer treatment to prolong them for a week?
      Tell you what, walk a foot step in our shoes then complain about some excess sick days.

      What do you want? Perhaps the ambulance service should eliminate anyone with any history of illness. If you have had any kind of flu, cough, cold etc you can’t do the job. Any history of back or musculoskeletal issues? Sorry. Oh wait..ever had any sadness, depression, anxiety, etc? Yes? Oops no your out.

      You want robotic automatons who will never get sick, never get injured and can work 24/7.
      Well sir sign up or shut up because your nonsense is getting old.

  56. NVG says:

    BMCQ:
    You know absolutely nothing about me . YOU know absolutely nothing about my background, what issues I have had to deal with in life or what I suffer from .

    As an example, DID YOU know my father died as the result of a Home Invasion in Yaletown ? I came home and found him and then called Paramedics who arrived in a very timely manner, perhaps you were there . How is your father Jay ?

    BMCQ:
    ‘Speaking of “NotSure”, I have a comment and question or two and I assume I am on safe ground as I am directly referencing the “Not Sure” comments and I also believe Harvey is in good humour as his Blog is once again up and running .

    Actually I do not consider it annoying that you fact-check Not Sure, but I do find it annoying and aggravating that you ONLY “Fact Check” BMCQ and pay absolutely no attention to “Whacked Out” and “Unhinged’ factles claims made by other posters, you must also wonder about that e.a.f. do you not ?

    And just how do you know Jay is “Good at his job” ? How could anyone know ? How the hell would you know if anyone of us are good at our jobs ? Psychic ? Seriously ?’

    (Response: In view of the important nature of the ambulance service topic, I have allowed contributors to tell their personal stories and, generally, I believe the discussion …more than 50 comments …have been very good. Many of us bare our souls on here and it helps us understand the depths of feelings about the given topics. Some responses are too long, but since generally on topic, I have allowed them to post. But no one should take as “facts” everything that others pronounce or pontificate or interpret. h.o)

  57. Not Sure says:

    BMCQ

    I don’t know why I am bothering because you are already more than convinced that you are correct so discussion is pointless but since you asked.

    I can only speak for myself. I retired with well over 400 unused sick days. I averaged about 2 sick days a year. Several years I didn’t take a sick day at all. That’s me. And I was certainly too busy doing my job to check the temperature of those who were home. There were many days when I probably showed up when I shouldn’t have. I was not alone in that regard.

    It isn’t that I question that sick leave provisions can be improved and that some may take advantage but you really haven’t done a good job supplying evidence. The Maclean’s article if you read it objectively just pointed out the differences between public and private sector workers. It actually gave reasons for some of the discrepancy. The other article that you improperly linked discussed both the problems of absenteeism and the problems with people showing up sick.

    During the pandemic we have seen the problem of people showing up sick at long term care facilities as one example. I have a relative who used to work in LTC pre-pandemic and he was told to stay home even with a minor cold as passing that cold onto the elderly patients could be costly. The pandemic has shown us how important sick days are.

    So what exactly is the problem you want to solve. Is it the one or two days that some people may take when they are not quite as sick as I was before I took a day. Or the “mental health” day that some need to cope. Or is it the longer term sick leave. I worked with someone who had accumulated a couple of hundred sick days and used most of them up while dying of cancer. Was she scamming the system. Or the young teacher who used up the 40 or so sick days he had accumulated at the beginning of his career because he was hospitalized and later homebound after his bowel was removed. Was he scamming. (By the way, with the BCTF once you have used up accumulated sick days, you can go on either short or long term disability which is completely funded by the membership, not the employer. That is what the young teacher did as he missed most of a year. But I believe the program only pays 50 0r 60%.)

    What happens to employees in those last two situations who don’t have that benefit.

    But the real issue for me is the approach you are taking. You said to Jay that absenteeism was a problem regardless of the cause. So, do we address the problems that result in the absenteeism or do we just take away the sick leave provisions forcing the paramedics back to work, most of whom are legitimately off. As I said before, deal with the problems that will fix the issue right now and deal with any alleged abuses later.

    Now if Harvey ever wants to have a discussion on ways to get to a sick leave policy that is more acceptable to you I do have an idea or two. But right now it is off topic.

  58. BMCQ says:

    I will try once to end this by stating .

    I doubt very much that you would/did take advantage of what is vey obviously a “Flawed System”, I am certain you are a person of integrity and strong character . Again, I am also very certain that not all are people of integrity whether i be the Ambulance Service or any other job description .

    You did not answer my question DID/DO YOU know any that DID take advantage of a “Flawed System” when you aught, I know a few BCTF and Principals who have mentioned that fact to me and they are not “Some Random Guy” on CKNDP/NW .

    (Edited…off topic)

    No matter how one would want to look at this argument, discussion, debate, I believe we have made some great headway and in fact Government, the Unions, and the Tax Payer should all be better informed and perhaps something can be done to make the system work better .

    Thanks Jay, you really helped to make this situation more transparent and that is a good thing .

    Good Luck !

    • jay says:

      To answer your question, no I have not personally known anyone to scam the system. I have heard rumors about some people and have heard some say they might do it but that is talk. I have no direct evidence that someone did or did not.
      What I do have direct evidence of is management accusing people of scamming the system even though they had legitimate reasons for being off.
      I was a shop steward for some time and had to deal with said accusations.
      I also had them directed at me personally due to taking time off for PTSD and chest colds that lasted much longer than others due to the fact I have asthma.

      I would also point out that if any member of the service has ANY Covid like symptoms they are directed to book off and remain off until they are asymptomatic. This could take 14 days by itself. So what then? They get no more sick time the rest of the year? Our sickness benefit is designed to allow for multiple illnesses or injuries. We are constantly exposed to every disease known to man and our PPE is not always 100% effective.
      The flu shot is not 100% effective and it most certainly does not cover all strains of flu that present in a year. Neither is the Covid vaccine.

      This isn’t some criminal conspiracy. People get sick. It happens. It is happening more and more because viruses evolve and can’t be treated as well. Our population is aging and that means weaker immunity.

      What you are finally seeing is the breaking point of the paramedics. They aren’t superhuman.

  59. HARRY LAWSON says:

    Harvey.

    As people like BCMQ and myself and others are sleeping, or enjoying quiet time . Ambulance has been called a situation has been dealt with. Some times it is routine sometimes it is puke and scoo p

    I find it so disrespectful that a poster on this blog will challenge how good a person is on their job with out any facts.

    That speaks volumes about the poster such shame.

    Ps the person you are saying that about could be saving your life tommorow.

  60. BMCQ says:

    Harry

    Please re read my comment .

    I was indeed asking Not Sure HOW he knew Jay was good at his job when we know nothing about Jay .

    I also asked how ANY of us know how good any other posters are at their job without knowing the poster or having evidence of performance .

    Please try and be fair Harry, I am sure Jay and Not Sure would understand my point .

    You are not being fair or balanced .

  61. Not Sure says:

    BMCQ to answer your question about Jay’s competence. I assume he is good at his job because I am assuming that he wouldn’t be a paramedic if he weren’t trained to be one. My assumption is that trained paramedics are good at their job. When they showed up to look after my mother, I had complete trust in what they were doing. To even suggest that that they may not be competent is insulting. I think that is Harry’s point.

    And that goes with people being off work. I assume that they are being honest. You keep asking if I knew any teachers that took advantage of sick leave. I answered you. I didn’t have time to take anybody’s temperature or even keep track of who was sick and how often. So no I didn’t know anybody. But did some of them? I am sure there were but first please define what you are suggesting.

    One colleague of mine was absolutely dedicated and excellent at her job. Rarely sick. But I knew there were times at the end of a term (and certainly not every term) when she was swamped with essays/tests and the added stress of report cards that she took a day to catch up instead of making herself sick staying up all hours. She was at home working. She didn’t hide it even from the principal. Was she scamming on those rare days? What about the exhausted coach who takes a Monday off after spending the entire weekend travelling to a tournament. Please define the scammers. Home with a hangover? I am sure it happened. But I never knew anybody who played golf.

    Long term disability is different. I knew somebody who was listed on the seniority list for years and we knew she must have reached retirement age when she was no longer listed. She had lupus. After she ran out of her accumulated sick leave she would have gone on the long term disability plan I mentioned that is funded by the membership. Was she scamming when using her accumulated sick days. There was a teacher, fairly young, whose doctor supplied her with notes to take a week for stress. Happened several times. The consensus was that she was not suited for the stresses of teaching. After a while she ended up quitting and became a nurse where she was more suited and could handle the stresses of that job instead of dealing with teenagers. Was she scamming.

    You are trying to simplify a complicated issue.

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