CUPE 4848 members,
I recently had the privilege to meet with members of MCMC to hear issues related to their role within ANB. As paramedics, they are our “go to” for everything related to our responses: from calling police and fire, the key holder, or another unit, meanwhile trying to follow an ever-changing SSP. They manage all of this and more while having management physically behind them. From the initial call, to 911, to the moment our paramedics walk through the door, MCMC members may have been on the phone with the caller providing pre-arrival care instructions for an extended period of time.
As paramedics, we go into calls and see the scene and patients’ condition. Although we see conditions we will never forget, our dispatcher’s only have a mental picture in their mind of what is going on, and most times they do not get any follow-up. Further, many times, they don’t even have time to reflect on a call as the next call is ringing when they hang up.
The average responses in a 24-hour period dispatched by our members is over 350 and on busy days that number can be 400 or more. That means some call takers take 80 – 90 calls on a shift. Due to under staffing, our dispatchers many times are covering multiple regions at any given time. ANB Emergency Medical Dispatchers are the lowest paid in the province and also one of the busiest. With the workload and low wages, retention and recruitment continues to be difficult.
I would like to congratulate every call taker and dispatcher that has helped coach a caller in CPR or any other lifesaving pre-arrival instructions and care that changed the outcome of patients. Paramedics and dispatchers both deserve better compensation for the service we all provide! This Executive remains committed to push for that goal forward.
Over the last 12 years, the Local’s communication hasn’t been where it should be; and I hear this all too often. With that said, for the time this current CUPE 4848 Executive has left, I will commit to improving our communication and provide updates to all members as things develop and it’s appropriate to do so. The information we release may not be what most want to hear; however it’s our duty to keep you informed as the Local’s elected officers.
Paramedics and dispatchers deal with physical and mental stressors each and every day. Please make sure you take time for yourself and reach out if you ever feel the need. Again, I ask that although we are facing uncertainty in our classification, we remain respectful towards members of our local, other CUPE Members, and the public.
President, CUPE Local 4848