- EHS claims it is trying hard to find replacements, but there are concerns that job openings outnumber recruits.
- The lack of paramedics in Nova Scotia is well-known, but newly released government statistics show they are departing in unprecedented numbers.
According to figures obtained by the provincial NDP through a freedom of information request, there were 100 paramedic openings in the first nine months of this year.
In 2017, there were 57 paramedic openings. Though the number fell to 41 the following year, it had slowly increased since 2019, when 64 job openings were registered. There were 75 last year. The province’s ambulance service has stated that it is working hard to replace those paramedics, but there are concerns that job openings outnumber recruits.
Susan Leblanc, the NDP’s health critic, said paramedics are burnt out, in part owing to ambulance offloading issues caused by staffing and care issues inside hospitals. Paramedics are going the job in Nova Scotia for various reasons, including long hours and low pay compared to other jurisdictions, according to Mike Nickerson, business agent for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 727.
“Working conditions for paramedics in this province have not improved,” he said. “On the contrary, they have gotten worse.” According to an email from EMS, only a few of the vacancies are permanent. The numbers change regularly as employees move around or take on new roles in the system.
According to EHS, 86 people have been hired this year, and more are being sought. One of its key strategies is to recruit experienced paramedics from other provinces, according to the organization. This year, more than 20 of the new hires are from outside of Nova Scotia.
The ambulance company stated that it had formed an internal task force to find new ways to recruit and retain employees. It is collaborating closely with the new provincial Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment.
source: CBC News