N.B. hopes for upgrade on paramedics
Paramedic care in New Brunswick may be undergoing an upgrade of sorts in the years ahead.
The province is the last in Canada to employ primary care paramedics, while every other province uses advanced care paramedics.
Those who work in the industry say the distinction is important because it helps define what they can and cannot do when dealing with different emergency calls.
Brian Taylor works part time as an advanced care paramedic in the Northwest Territories, but is considered primary care in New Brunswick.
He says heart attack victims are treated differently when he works up North.
“When they’re suffering with an M-I, they have their arteries to the heart to start to get blocked off. So we would bring in medicine that they would get in the hospital straight to their community, and we would administer it there,” he says.
The Health Minister says the province wants to a find a role for advanced care paramedics, but he’s concerned there may not be enough work to keep them busy and properly accredited.
“What does irk me from time to time, is when people say, ‘Oh well, they have them in Nova Scotia. Yes, and they’re working shifts in the E-R’S at rural hospitals and in New Brunswick, we have doctors,” says New Brunswick Health Minister Hugh Flemming. “Are the people ready for that?”
The paramedics association hopes a solution can be found.