Emergency Debate on Ambulance Strike in Newfoundland and Labrador

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Emergency debate on a paramedic strike in Newfoundland and Labrador

A hundred paramedics from the #x27;Fewer's company has been on strike since Friday.

An ambulance from the private ambulance service Fewer's in Newfoundland and Labrador

The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador on Saturday called for an emergency debate on a strike by paramedics.

In a press release issued Saturday evening, the Prime Minister Andrew Furey said he had asked relevant officials to convene the House of Assembly on Monday to discuss legislative changes that would make private ambulance services essential.

Due to the urgent and critical nature of the situation created by this strike and labor dispute, it raises serious concerns for the safety and well-being of residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, said Andrew Furey .

About 120 workers from seven private ambulance services belonging to Fewer's Ambulance Service have been on strike since Friday afternoon.

They demand better wages and a better pension plan.

For its services, the company is funded by the provincial government.

Hubert Dawe is spokesperson for the section 855 of the Teamsters Union in Newfoundland.

Communities in Newfoundland immediately affected by the strike include Stephenville, Fogo, Gambo, Bonavista, Conception Bay South, Holyrood and Trepassey.< /p>

A leader of Teamsters Union Local 855, Hubert Dawe, said Friday he has been calling on the provincial government for years to make private ambulance services essential.

This decision would eliminate their right to strike, but it would mean that wages and working conditions for private paramedics would be decided by an independent arbitrator rather than the company owner.

Premier Furey announced an emergency debate as mayors of two cities said the strike had only heightened concerns amid x27;a winter storm that began Friday evening.

Bonavista Mayor John Norman says a patient at the city's health center with a serious and acute medical condition waited an additional 90 minutes on Friday for an ambulance to transfer him in a larger hospital, where he could be treated by specialists.

This is just another indicator, quite frankly, of the absolute disaster in which health care finds itself. health in much of Newfoundland, John Norman said in an interview Saturday.

The town of Bonavista is home to approximately 3,100 people as well as a busy regional health center whose emergency department has also been impacted by closures and doctor shortages.

In good weather, it takes about 90 minutes to get to the nearest other hospital in Clarenville, John Norman said. In a winter storm, it can take two hours.

Across Bonavista Bay, New-Wes-Valley Mayor Michael Tiller said said the strike was straining his community.

Mayor Tiller is a paramedic although he is not one of those on strike. He was quick to express his support for their decision.

Michael Tiller said he and his team responded to a call Friday night in an area normally served by workers on strike.

Due to the extra distance, the patient had to wait 20 minutes longer for the ambulance to arrive. He added that a volunteer firefighter administered oxygen, which kept the patient in stable condition.

If our two ambulances in New-Wes -Valley have left to respond to emergencies in other areas, we could very well face a 1.5 hour wait for an ambulance in this area, and that's no exaggeration , pointed out Michael Tiller in an interview.

Doctor shortages forced the New-Wes-Valley Health Center to close for about 13 days over the past month, according to regional health authority press releases. The nearest emergency department is in Gander, approximately 130 kilometers away.

Our region has feared for some time that there is a tragic outcome because that our hospital is not open or there is a delay, even to get treatment or a follow-up appointment, because there is no doctor, worries Michael Tiller.

With information from La Presse canadienne

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