B.C. Paramedics to get their own union

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BC Ambulance. Photo submitted

On Oct. 24, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that having a standalone bargaining unit will help the paramedics deal with the ongoing pressure on ambulance and other emergency services. This is in line with the long term goal to integrate rural paramedics with residential care and allow house calls with elderly people, he said.

“This change would also support patient care, with a focus on key areas such as response times, rural and remote staffing, and innovative ways of treating patients with non-emergency injuries and illnesses,” said Dix.

Fort St. James is one of the towns where the pilot program was started in March 2017 and it has been expanded to more communities allowing paramedics to visit patients between emergency calls to help them treat people at home or on scene in response to a 9-1-1 call where the patient does not require transport to a hospital.

A “universal hourly wage” for rural paramedics also took effect in April 2017, replacing paid-on-call and giving part-time paramedics a raise.