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  • Writer's pictureMatt Betts

Hurry up and wait.

'This is not inevitable:' Offload delays continue to plague hospital

Provincial NDP leader and the Waterloo Region Health Coalition met in Cambridge to discuss issues

Matt Betts


Retired physician Michael Lawrie (left), provincial NDP leader Marit Stiles, Cambridge NDP candidate José de Lima and Waterloo Region Health Coalition chair Jim Stewart met on Friday about the stress the health care-system is under.Matt Betts/CambridgeToday

Hurry up and wait.


It's a common theme for people heading to the emergency room at Cambridge Memorial Hospital as long wait times and offload delays for ambulances have been seen in recent weeks.


For John Riches, chief of Waterloo Region Paramedic Services, his team's hands are tied when it comes to such delays, he said.


"The challenge for us is offload delays happen to us, but we can't do anything," Riches said.


"My sense is it's a combination of everything in the hospital. Their biggest challenge is the volume of patients that are very sick within their facility."


Riches says 911 call volumes are up and with a number of ambulances potentially sitting at the hospital at any given time, it creates a serious risk to public safety.


Paramedics are also seeing an increase in low acuity patients calling for care, which Riches attributes to a lack of options patients feel they have.


"I think there's a lot of reasons for it," he said. "One of which is some people aren't attached to a primary care physician and feel like they have no other choice."




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