'Like a tap that doesn't turn off': High call volumes leave Saskatoon paramedics struggling to keep up
Paramedics are struggling to keep up as Saskatoon faces the fourth wave of the pandemic.
The number of calls they are responding to has increased to levels they've never seen before.
"There's certain words I can use to describe it but it's just crap," advanced care paramedic Paul Hill said.
Hills said paramedics are breaking down in tears because of the pressure.
Before the pandemic, receiving 50 calls in a shift was considered crazy. Last week they received 80 calls.
Add in hospital delays, and you'll find paramedics waiting in hospital hallways with their patients for hours before they can get to their next call.
"We've had patients up in the wards 18 to 26 hours in the last six months. That's the extreme. But, when do run into significant delays happening on the regular, three, to six, to eight hours. We have some crews that sit in the hospital eight to 10 hours a day without a break," said Hills.
Hills said that if you are driving by Broadway bridge and notice an ambulance at the bottom of the bridge, it's the only one available in the city at that time. The location allows them fast access to anywhere in the city when a call comes in.
"There's no playbook for this. There's no playbook for a world pandemic. So we have seen things change on the fly," said Troy Davies, Medavie Health Services spokesperson.
Davies said they communicate with the health authority and Ministry of Health daily about the challenge they have been facing.
Hills believes that even if things slow down the challenges won't go away.
"The next resource you get, the next bed that opens up, the next ward that opens then the community just needs us more. It's honestly just like a tap that doesn't turn off," said Hills.