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Paramedic Services Week in Sudbury: 'Help Us, Help You'

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From May 19-25, Ontario is marking Paramedic Services Week.

Community Safety General Manager for the City of Greater Sudbury Chief Joseph Nicholls (right) and Greater Sudbury Paramedic Services Deputy Chief Melissa Roney (left) at the city's opening ceremonies for Paramedic Services Week on May 21, 2024. (Alana Everson/CTV News Northern Ontario)

This year’s theme is “Help Us, Help You," which focuses on educating the public about the different ways paramedics help beyond emergency response and to consider other programs and services before calling 911.

Nearly 11,000 paramedics are working in Ontario, with 11 new paramedic recruits being welcomed to Greater Sudbury Paramedic Services at the city’s opening ceremonies for Paramedic Services Week on Tuesday morning.

“Human health resources and recruiting is a challenge in the healthcare sector across the province and certainly paramedics are no change,” said Chief Joseph Nicholls, the city’s general manager of community safety.

“We are always looking for additional paramedics. We are just not getting the number of paramedics applying for an open competition that we would see in years past.”

City officials told CTV News that all of the new paramedic hires studied locally and live in the Greater Sudbury area.

“Studies have shown that one in 10 paramedics are off with PTSD currently which is very crucial at the time when human health shortages are facing us,” said Melissa Roney, the Deputy Chief of Greater Sudbury Paramedic Services.

“We do our best to make sure our staff stay healthy at work.”

Dr. Jason Prpic is the regional medical director of paramedic services and he told CTV News that the role of paramedics within the healthcare system is explained.

“Paramedics are now expanding their scope of practice to include things like discharging patients, treating patients or bringing them to alternate destinations or even just providing care within the patient's home,” he said.

“All of these things I think are key issues that are going to help the healthcare system provide patient care in a more appropriate setting.”

Paramedics support their communities in many ways and play a large role in the broader healthcare system, said Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs president Michael Sanderson in a news release.

“Our focus for Paramedic Services Week this year is to share and recognize all they (paramedics) do while educating the public on when to dial 911 and when alternate resources might better serve their needs,” said Sanderson.

Greater Sudbury city councillor Rene Lapierre, a retired paramedic who now coordinates the paramedic program at Collège Boréal, also highlighted some points of this year’s Paramedic Services Week theme.

“Having a healthcare ready a list of medications different things like that and if we want to go upstream well how you can help is you can prevent accidents wearing your life jacket wearing your helmet on the ATVs wearing your PPE at work,” said Lapierre.

Local officials said Greater Sudbury Paramedic Services cover a huge geographical area – more than 9,000 square kilometres.

In 2023, Greater Sudbury paramedics responded to more than 32,000.

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