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Grey County paramedics meet response time targets

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Grey County paramedics met the response time targets they set for 2020.

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Response time targets are based on the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale, with swifter responses set for more life-threatening problems, such as sudden cardiac arrest, than for lesser health issues.

The response times are set by the province but how often they’re met is the target local paramedic managers set, based on realities of responding in a huge geographic area, which is seeing growing call volumes.

“To tell you the truth, it’s pretty positive news,” said Kevin McNab, the director of paramedic services in Grey County, in an interview. “We set these targets each year and we do our best to make sure we meet them.

“And this is the first year since 2015 that we met the targets,” though they’re often close, he said. Details were in a report to county council Thursday.

For a sudden cardiac arrest, an ambulance arrived at the call or a public defibrillator was administered within six minutes or less, 43.59 per cent of the time. The target was 40 per cent and the five-year average was 44 per cent.

For this most time-sensitive category, expanded to include major trauma or shock, help arrived within the eight-minute target 61.49 per cent of the time, just above the 60 per cent target and below the 65.38 per cent five-year average.

For emergent care, including potential threats to life or limb functions requiring rapid medical intervention or delegated acts, such as head injury, chest pain or internal bleeding, the 15-minutes-or-less target was reached 90.34 per cent of the time. The target is 90 per cent and five-year average is 89.37 per cent.

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For urgent-care conditions that could potentially progress to a serious problem requiring emergency intervention, such as mild to moderate breathing problems, resolved seizure with normal level of alertness and moderate anxiety/agitation, the 20-minute-or-less target was met 97.01 per cent of the time, above the 90 per cent target and just less than the 97.12 per cent five-year average.

Similarly, less-urgent and non-urgent response times have a 20-minutes-or-less target, which were met 97.62 and 95.65 per cent respectively, about at their five-year averages.

McNab acknowledged there are geographical realities which limit the ability of paramedics to respond faster. People living in the country will likely experience longer waits for an ambulance than in the city. “We get there as quickly as we can.”

And call volumes climbed by almost 22 per cent increase over the past five years — though 4.37 per cent less than 2019, a drop seen across the province.

But efforts have succeeded to reduce response times, including by building an ambulance station in Chatsworth in 2019, and more than doubling the hours the station is staffed, to 84 hours a week, by adding night coverage as of last August.

The placement of a first-response car in Chatsworth has sped up responses too, and a new system which feeds real-time patient updates and the navigation route information, is also improving response times, McNab said.

Grey County employs about 135 paramedics, nine ambulances, a first-response car, a supervisor and community paramedic.

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CHILDREN’S GALLERY

Grey Roots is creating a children’s gallery with the help of a $20,000 donation.

The offer of the donation, over five years from Fairmount Security Services, will provide the resources to do minor renovations and make unique equipment purchases to this end, the report said.

“Unique, child-focused, and relatable objects from the museum collections will be paired with lively wall murals, hands-on items and expressive text in order to support the exploration of nature and history from a Grey County perspective,” according to a report to  Grey County council.

Staff and special guests will animate the space, which will include “quiet reading spaces, bustling building activities, art projects and games.” It will be called “Zooz’ Place,” after Fairmount Security Service’s security dog, Zooz.

The project should start sometime this year, as pandemic restrictions may allow, the council report said. Members of the committee of the whole received the report and endorsed the name of the new children’s gallery.

* * *

An overview of a Meaford Golf Course condominium subdivision proposal, to be located at 408 Ridge Rd. and called Hilton Head Heights, was included as information for Grey County council Thursday.

The residential condominium project is to include 33 single detached dwelling lots on Meaford Golf Course lands, plus 18 more lots which will form a separate condominium application to proceed later, a report to council said.

The housing development is to be accessed by a new road off Ridge Road and receive municipal water and sewer services. Technical reports have been submitted, the application and studies will be circulated to agencies and the public for comment and a public meeting will be called.

After the meeting county staff will make a recommendation to council.

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