Andrew Parsons is calling on the provincial government to negotiate a fair deal that will result in a mutually agreeable contract with ambulance operators and paramedics.
“Government should be proactive in co-operating with ambulance operators on a contract that will not only improve efficiencies, but also improve emergency services,” said Parsons, the Liberal MHA for Burgeo-La Poile and Opposition Health and Community Services critic in a press release on Wednesday.
In the release, Parsons challenges the government to listen to ambulance operators and paramedics and commit to reducing “red alerts” — the times when there is no available ambulance on stand-by to answer emergency calls.
“We hear regularly from ambulance operators and paramedics who have serious concerns about the level of service they are able to provide in the current system,” Parsons said in the release.
“Yesterday they made their voices heard on the steps of Confederation Building to voice their frustrations. With lives at stake, it’s time to hear them out and help them do their jobs.”
A province-wide review of the ambulance system was completed last August, but so far there have been no significant improvements to ambulance operations or the level of care provided, said the release.
Parsons noted that in rural Newfoundland and Labrador it may actually get worse, as ambulance workers are warning government’s new proposed model for private and community operators will see two- and three-hour red alerts become even longer.