Paramedic, operator turned away from meeting

Diane Crocker
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Steve Carey, left, the owner Tryco Ambulance Service and Mackenzie’s Ambulance Service, and Adam Paisley, supervisor with Tryco Ambulance Service in Norris Point, wait outside the doors where a session was being held for paramedics in Corner Brook on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.

CORNER BROOK — Adam Paisley and Steve Carey have some ideas on how the province’s ambulance system should work. At the top of their list is legislation that creates a standardized system.

Unfortunately, Paisley and Carey weren’t given the opportunity to share their ideas during a session held for paramedics as part of the province’s review of ambulance programs in Corner Brook on Tuesday.

That’s because Paisley is a supervisor with Tryco Ambulance Service in Norris Point, and Carey is the owner of Tryco and Mackenzie’s Ambulance Service. The two companies service communities from Port aux Basques to St. Anthony.

The meeting at Western Memorial Regional Hospital was facilitated by the Fitch-Helleur partnership, consultants hired by the province to conduct the review.

“They had issues in other parts of the island of operators trying to strong arm their employees, so they weren’t going to allow anybody in an operator, management, or a supervisor or advisory position to be in the meetings,” said Paisley of the explanation provided to him and Carey.

Paisley said the email inviting him to the session didn’t mention that supervisors would not be welcome, and he followed the appropriate links to sign up.

He was upset with being excluded because he wasn’t there to speak as a supervisor. He drove from Norris Point to speak for the crew there, to be the voice for their concerns with the present system that include wages, compensation, scheduling, equipment and health and safety standards.

“Right now there aren’t very many standards set for any of that,” he said.

He said, for example, ambulances used in this province are older than those used in other provinces.

“That’s what the government and that’s what the system is allowing us to do. And that’s where the changes need to come,” he said. “There needs to be legislation put into place that better governs on how the ambulance operators get their equipment.”

It’s not just ambulances, he added, but also stretchers, supplies and oxygen. He also said the lack of a 911 system and cellphone coverage in the area he serves are major issues that need to be addressed.

Carey agreed with much of what Paisley said, and understands where his employee is coming from.

“The system we have is a farce,” he said. “Paramedics are overworked and underpaid, and there is no consistency through how ambulances are funded in this province.”

Carey said the entire system needs to be overhauled, starting with an elimination of the three-tiered — hospital, private and community-based — system that currently exists.

Paisley said he was told the consultants would do a teleconference with him and other staff, but it would have been nice to know that he wouldn’t be allowed into the meeting. Still, both he and Carey planned to stick around the hospital until the meeting ended to try and add their thoughts to the review process.

Organizations: Tryco Ambulance Service, Western Memorial Regional Hospital, Fitch-Helleur

Geographic location: Norris Point, Port aux Basques

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Recent comments

    February 01, 2013 - 13:47

    Is this not the same operator who threatened to fire his entire staff a couple years back? His presence at this meeting is unacceptable and as such he should be severely reprimanded for appearing as this is nothing short of intimidation on his part. If Mr. Carey was so concerned about the opinions of his employees being heard than why didn't he arrange to have a delegate sent on their behalf? I do not work within this industry but have paid close attention to this review in the hopes that the province will be able to improve the service rendered by those working in this beleagured profession. The conduct exhibited by certain private operators has been nauseating and surely is not the sign of a well monitored system.

  • Ratchet
    February 01, 2013 - 11:10

    Two owners tried to crash the St. John's meeting that was for private medics only. They acted like idiots when they were told to leave. Typical that the private owners would try to kill any momentum medics have now towards higher pay and 12h shifts. Not to mention all the OH&S violations that are being made public. I hope the report brings up how many owners tried this stunt. You guys can't cover up the abuse anymore. We will be heard and we will fight for everything we want and fairly deserve.

  • Paramedic
    February 01, 2013 - 07:33

    Well obviously he wasn't allowed into the EMPLOYEE meeting. There was a separate meeting for owners/operators to voice their opinions anId concerns but apparently very few showed up to it. What would make him think that he can just slip into an employee meeting???? You've had a lot of control over your employees for years so I bet it's a hard and scary thing to be losing all that control isn't it? the whole system needs an overhaul and one of the aspects should be to eliminate private services completely. All services should be publicly run and one standard across the entire province - not split into private vs public/hospital.

  • NLemr
    February 01, 2013 - 06:55

    First offi just wanna day that its not ont paramedics that's overworked and underpaid. Emrs are also overwired and underpaid. I love how all these articles talks about paramedics and not emrs. Last I checked we was still in the system and workin WITH that paramedics as there PARTNER.

    • Paramedic
      February 01, 2013 - 19:11

      NLEMR, it is appropriate to refer to Emergency Medical Responders (EMR), Primary Care Paramedics (PCP), Advanced Care Paramedics (ACP), and Critical Care Paramedics (CCP) as "Paramedics" in the collective sense; the Paramedic Association of Canada does. Certainly it is acceptable for the media to do this as well. Below is copied and pasted from the National Occupational Competency Profiles document developed by the PAC. "1" denotes subscript in that document. This is a publicly available document which you're supposed to be familiar with. Paramedic Levels The NOCP contains integrated competency sets describing the entry-to-practice expectations for four paramedic 1 levels:  Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)  Primary Care Paramedic (PCP)  Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP)  Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) 1 - The term “paramedic” as used in this document is inclusive of the four levels, including the Emergency Medical Responder.

    January 30, 2013 - 16:59

    Sorry steve but you missed your meeting, the operators meeting, boo hoo. so u figured you could just jump into the staff meeting and stir it up? Nice try. Out of 4 possible operators that could have shown up to the "operators" meeting only one showed up and that was Bob Patten. And guess what, the only paramedics to show up to there meeting were pattens paramedics. Why is that? Because steve carey treats his staff so bad he knew if they showed up they would have completely ripped him a new one to the review panel, so my guess is they were told not to go or else be fired right? You didnt see bob patten trying to go to his staffs meeting did you? its because he has better sense than that. Steve its operators like u that need to go.

  • NLmedic
    January 30, 2013 - 14:29

    What is not mentioned here is that there was a meeting set up with the consultants and employers which employees were not allowed to attend so it would be unfair that employers or supervisors would attend the meeting designated for employees. Next, what is not mentioned here is that the employees that attended these meetings would be repramanded if they said anything that was against their employers or something that the employers did not agree with. In fact, I believe that Mr. Carey attended this meeting to see what employees of his attended the meeting and employees of other private services so that he could report to those operators as to which employees were present. Paramedics of the private service in this province are fearful for their jobs if they speak up and voice their concerns, so why should owners be allowed to know who it is that voicess concerns pertaining to this province wide consultation. With regards to the ambulances that services are utilizing in the province, it is the operators choice which ambulance they purchase. So why do they purchase ambulances which are no longer allowed to be used in other provices due to age or excessive kilometers? It's because it costs less to buy used ambulances than new ones. Thats a problem reflecting on the owners. Personally, I believe ambulances and equipment are the small problems that is facing the paramedicine field in this province. Bigger issues are inequality of paramedics, disrespect from owners of private services towards front line workers, low wages for paramedics in the private service (once again, its the operators choice to pay the lowest wage that is allowed under the current contract). Carey says in this article that paramedics are overworked, its the employers that are overworking their paramedics. It's not self scheduling. They have no choice but to work these terrible and abundant hours if they want a pay cheque. Operators of private services in this province are not concerned with patient care and safety or their employees, they are simply concerned with making money and purchasing material things for themselves. It's time for private services to become a thing of the past. I hope this provincial review reveals the same conclusion.

  • CB in Cb
    January 30, 2013 - 14:13

    Obviously the private amublance operators are angry... They make millions on the ambulance services! Just come to Corner Brook and look at the operator's house...6 ski doos, just as many cars. The operators are worried for their payouts, not about the conditions their employees work in, or else they would have said something long ago. There needs to be an overhaul on these services. Emergency services shouldn't operate like a business!

  • NL paramedic
    January 30, 2013 - 11:25

    Again the rat comes out of his den to cause problems again for Paramedics. Tell the truth Steve Carey for once in your life, you missed your meetin at 11 am yesterday when the owners had heir chance of the meeting and the only owner that took interest in showing up was Bob Patten. Stop pretending to be screwed over, you tried that a few years ago with the employees in Port aux Basques and took the South West Ambulance service and turned it upside down. You let the residents I South Western Newfoundland down then with your attitude and comments of its not my mother so why should I care. You are real piece of work and cry to the media for attention. Grow up and stop hiding behind your fear of I'll get my lawyer after you. Your threads don't scare anyone these days. Crawl back in under the rock you crawled out of!!!!!