Government negotiation delays endangering rural ambulance service

NDP FES critic George Murphy

The NDP Critic for Fire & Emergency Services wants to know why government has kept private ambulance operators waiting more than two years for a contract. George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) says the emergency medical responders employed by the ambulance operators are finding it harder and harder to justify continuing to work in rural areas of the province, considering their pay levels and working conditions.

“Private ambulance operators have been without a contract for close to two and a half years,” Murphy said in the House of Assembly today.

“EMRs I talk to haven’t seen a wage increase over the same time period as a result of government inaction over attaining a new contract. Why the delay in negotiations?”

Murphy says it’s becoming harder to keep people working for the ambulance services, and this in turn poses a danger to residents of the mostly rural districts they serve.

“The retention of personnel to work on ambulance services in rural regions of the province is a serious issue. We’re losing our trained people,” he said.

“How is government going to guarantee that ambulance service is going to exist for anyone if contract talks keep falling off the rails?”

Murphy says a province-wide, government-run ambulance system would put an end to the inequities in pay and working conditions that are such a challenge in the piecemeal system that currently exists.

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