Monday, November 16, 2009

911 for the 911

It is not often that I feel the direct impact of a labour dispute.

But the current struggle between Ambulance drivers and paramedics and the B.C. Government has me a little worried.

It was only a few months ago that I dialled 911.

Within minutes, the whole gang was in my kitchen, and only a few minutes later, I was in a bed at VGH.

The response from these dedicated and knowledgeable workers was terrific.

Now, as they have been legislated back to work, they are running a series of work stoppages that has severely limited the number of vehicles and personnel on the road.

The public is being urged to call 911 only in the most dire emergencies.

The first thing that tells me is that in ordinary practice many people are calling for ambulance services when they should not.

If people are being told to visit a walk-in clinic or their local bones, they must be casually using 911 frivolously.

This is not something I had ever before considered, but why should I be surprised?


If anybody, any worker or group of workers is fighting with the B.C. Government about almost anything, my natural sympathies will lie immediately with the workers.

And so in this case, I support the paramedics pleas for a better contract. They do great, life-saving work and they should be appropriately compensated.

I just wish they could find a way to drive home their arguments without scaring the living beejazus outta me.


Anonymous said...

David, you are absolutely right on all counts. Maybe the paramedics need some other way to get their message across? Maybe they need your voice and your media savvy to help them come up with a more convincing and less scary way of getting what they are due.

Anonymous said...

Why is there such a heavy reliance on paramedics working overtime (which I now gather they are going to refuse to do and will only work their regularly scheduled shifts)?

My support is with the paramedics.


Jeff Taylor said...

I'll have to take the opposite position on this one. I STRONGLY believe that some services SHOULD be deemed essential. Ambulance drivers and paramedics should be on the top of this list. In the building complex I live in here in Toronto, a man was in full cardiac arrest on the floor of a common hallway while he and two people trying to keep him alive waiting 30 plus minutes for EMS to arrive. As it turns out, they were outside our building just down the street waiting for the police - so they say. By the way, at the time, EMS services in the city were on strike. Many, many people are calling for a public enquiry. The paramedics were suspended for a number of days. As for the man that had a heart attack, he died on the spot.

Anonymous said...

If paramedics are so gosh darn "essential" Jeff, then shouldn't they get an adequate pay and benefits package that recognizes and respects their training, responsibilities and duties?

It is fine and dandy to scream, "essential service" and order people back to work. These same people will be the same blowhards who will assume that all people in "essential" jobs such as paramedics, nurses, teachers, etc should be given next to nothing in the form of pay increases and an adequate benefits package.

Essential service does not mean indebted servitude!!

Jeff Taylor said...

Dear Anonymous ( whom ever you are ), I in no way by calling for paramedics to be an essential service said that they shouldn't get paid a decent wage for the work they do.

I DIDN'T say anything about these people being paid 'next to nothing' either - although I'm sure they are doing a little better than a person working at 7-11 while going to school or raising a kid or two on those wages.

Your closing line about indebted servitude say a lot about your self serving thinking though.
I also noticed you seemed to ignore my comments where they related directly to a man's death while waiting for help. Hmm .....

Anonymous said...

So Jeff, making a comment that indebted servitude is a bad thing is "self serving"


You belong in another century... I think that the Victorian age should suit you quite nicely.