Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday August 20, 2022
Ambulance use in Ontario has grown far faster than population, study finds
A new study finds ambulance use in Ontario increased significantly in the years leading up to the pandemic, outpacing the growth in both population and hospital emergency room visits by other means.
The study was led by researchers at Hamilton’s McMaster University and it looked at the yearly numbers of patients transported by ambulance paramedics to hospital emergency rooms across Ontario from 2010 to 2019.
It found a 38.3 per cent increase in the number of ambulance patient transports to ERs over the decade, an increase four times larger than the province’s 9.6 per cent population growth over the same period.
“What our work points to is that this current model of [emergency department] transports is likely unsustainable for the province,” said Ryan Strum, the lead researcher for the paper and a PhD student at McMaster who also works as a paramedic.