Wednesday, December 1, 2021

A solution for offload delays must be found

A recent report from Brunswick News detailed how offload delays for paramedics tripled in 2021 as compared to the previous year.
Offload delays is the time it takes for an ambulance to unload a patient in hospital. There are several factors that create this issue but overcrowding in emergency rooms, lack of staff in hospital and lack of available beds are all factors.
According to the report, from January to November 2021, offload delays totaled 16,031 hours compared with 5,288 the year before.
This is a major issue for our provincial healthcare system. Paramedics sidelined due to offload delays means those ambulances are not back on the road taking emergency calls.
The recently released provincial health plan does not address offload delays directly which is concerning.
One potential solution is for the province to hire more qualified professionals to work in hospitals. This way, instead of having an ambulance out of service for hours due to offloading, the patient could be transferred to someone in hospital with the appropriate level of training ensuring quality of care for the patient while getting the ambulance back onto the road to take another call.
The healthcare plan presented by Health Minister Dorothy Shephard spoke a lot about technology helping to improve the system which is long overdue. However, the most valuable resource in healthcare are trained professionals.
Technology will only get us so far, more healthcare workers are the key. Hiring qualified people and having some of them work in hospital will help alleviate the offloading issue.