Joel Harden MPP / Député, Ottawa Centre

Government of Ontario

Ford’s hospital cuts creating ‘code zero’ ambulance crisis in Ottawa and Hamilton: NDP

Published on October 29, 2019

QUEEN’S PARK — Ottawa Centre NDP MPP Joel Harden and the NDP MPP for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas, Sandy Shaw, raised the issue of a ‘code zero’ shortage of available ambulances in Ottawa and Hamilton during question period Monday, calling for Doug Ford’s health care underfunding and hallway medicine to stop.

Because Ford is squeezing hospital budgets, people in medical crisis can no longer be assured that an ambulance will be there when they need it, the MPPs said.

Recent reports out of Hamilton and Ottawa show that both cities are experiencing severe ambulance shortages and more ‘code zero’ events — when an emergency call comes in and there is one or zero ambulances available to respond. The source of code zero incidents are off-load delays at hospitals caused by hospital overcrowding.

“People in Ottawa need to feel confident that if they have to call an ambulance for a medical emergency, an ambulance will be there, and fast,” Harden said. “Under the Ford government, you can’t even rely on that. On a single day last June, Ottawa had no ambulances available for seven and a half hours.”

On Oct. 20, the city of Hamilton had zero ambulances available to respond to emergencies for three and a half hours — all of the city’s ambulances were stuck waiting at hospitals over capacity.

“First the Liberals’ and now the Ford Conservatives’ chronic underfunding of hospitals have created a scary hallway medicine crisis,” Shaw said. “Now the crisis is spinning out to include ambulances, and paramedics are saying things will only get worse as flu season hits.

“When is Doug Ford going to admit that cutting hospital budgets puts peoples’ health at risk and their lives in danger?”