Paramedics are often the backbone of our emergency health system and this week they are getting some much-needed recognition from the province.
This week is Paramedic Services Week in our province recognizing the tireless work and the large call volume they face on a daily basis.
Deb Trumbley is the Director, Patient Care Delivery, for the North and told Vista Radio while the job can rewarding, it can also take a mental toll especially when it comes to the toxic drug crisis.
“Paramedics are exposed to far more traumatic events than everyday people are in their normal life and we have a few strategies around it. We do have a critical incident stress management team that takes care of our folks and we also have a lot of resources for our paramedics in building mental health resilience.”
“The job has always been difficult and that is what makes paramedics so amazing is that they face these challenges day in and day out and month after month, year after year.”
It’s #ParamedicServicesWeek and we’re celebrating paramedics such as Ashley & Emily of Summerland.
“It is an incredibly diverse field to be in,” says Ashley (left).
“I enjoy how many different people I’ve gotten to meet,” says Emily (right).
Learn more: https://t.co/kC9rMT7yNV pic.twitter.com/uU68Xr0MQs
— BC Emergency Health Services (@BC_EHS) May 24, 2023
Trumbley adds under their new agreement, paramedics are able to take time off after a difficult call and are encouraged to take a vacation and accrued overtime.
Paramedics continue to be caught in the crosshairs of BC’s toxic drug crisis, which claimed over 12-thousand lives in 2016.
“The toxic drug crisis is no different. It weighs on our paramedics that we have these toxic substances in our society and system-wide, it does mean an increase in call volume as well so we are having to manage through that,” added Trumbley.
Furthermore, Northern Health saw a 17% spike in overdose calls in 2022 – the largest year-over-year increase among all the health authorities in BC.
The next closest was Interior Health with a 9% increase. Last year, Northern Health posted 182 drug poisoning fatalities, with 84 of those occurring in Prince George – both record highs.
“Every aspect of the job presents its own unique challenges and rewards. I learn and grow every day.” – Valerie Hurley, primary care paramedic, Abbotsford
Learn about BCEHS paramedics during #ParamedicServicesWeek: https://t.co/kC9rMT7yNV pic.twitter.com/nPjIdpnhyH
— BC Emergency Health Services (@BC_EHS) May 23, 2023