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Delayed paramedics cost RVH cash

Hospitals that take too long to offload ambulance patients and provide the care they need are having their Simcoe County Hospital Alliance funding cut, with Barrie’s RVH losing the most.
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Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre emergency entrance. Robin MacLennan/BarrieToday

The County of Simcoe will penalize RVH for delays in transferring patients from ambulances to the emergency department.

Paramedics are delayed, on average, almost an hour when arriving at Barrie's hospital and that means a reduction of about $90,000 in funding from the County this year.

Hospitals that take too long to offload ambulance patients and provide the care they need are having their Simcoe County Hospital Alliance funding cut, with Barrie’s RVH losing the most.

“We’re partnering with our local hospitals and we support our local hospitals. That partnership relies on how they work with our paramedics. When our paramedics bring patients to the hospital and it takes time until they’re in full care of the hospital, it stops our paramedics from getting out and responding to other emergencies,” said Jane Sinclair, Simcoe County’s health and emergency services general manager.

A 30-minute off-load time is deemed the standard. For the past three years, the hospitals have been working to move towards that, with the phase-in beginning at 50 minutes, then 40 minutes in 2014 and finally 30 minutes in 2015.

As an incentive, two years ago the county began tying its grants to meeting those patient off-load targets. 

At RVH, patient off-load takes an average of 55 minutes, while at Orillia Soldier’s Memorial, it takes 42 minutes and at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, the average time is 40 minutes.

“Collingwood is at 33; it’s very close. Georgian Bay General is at 33 minutes. They’re very close and they’ve been improving,” said Sinclair.

But at the RVH, it’s a very different story. There was improvement, she told county councillors, but performance is “deteriorating”.

“It impacts us. It impacts the patients if they’re not moving into the emergency department,” said Sinclair.

RVH will therefore lose $90,381 of its $1.94-million grant request. 

Southlake will see its $122,732 grant fall by $2,437; Collingwood General and Marine will see its $232,302 grant fall by $337; and Georgian Bay General’s $563,658 grant will be reduced by $110.

Those reductions are based on a paramedic cost of $175.32 per hour.

County grant reductions totaled $93,265.




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Laurie Watt

About the Author: Laurie Watt

A journalist with 35 years experience in newspapers, Laurie is also an active volunteer in Barrie.
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