Ontario proposes to give paramedics new powers, experiment with ‘fire medics’

Ontario paramedics could be given more discretion on where to take patients in mental distress or who have non-life-threatening injuries.

The province’s proposed overhaul of the Ambulance Act could change where paramedics are allowed to take patients in mental distress or who have minor injuries, and in some cases who shows up for a 911 call in the first place.

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins says if the proposed changes are passed, paramedics could take patients to other facilities depending on their discretion. If the injury is minor, the person could be taken to a community care clinic. If the person is in emotional or mental distress, a paramedic could decide to go to a mental health facility.

The proposed changes won’t just save health workers’ time; patients may have shorter wait times as well.

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