HARBOUR GRACE, NL — Harbour Grace council members are concerned about the removal of some local ambulance workers.
During a regular council meeting held Monday, Dec. 18, Coun. Kathy Tetford brought forward the recent layoff of several ambulance workers under Moore’s Ambulance Service, which offers services to residents in the Harbour Grace region.
Tetford said four staff members had been laid off, leaving only two available ambulances for Harbour Grace.
“At any point in time, we now have two ambulances only,” explained Tetford. “From my understanding, these ambulances are used not only for emergencies, but also for anyone who needs to travel from here, or from Carbonear, to St. John’s.
“If someone needs to be in St. John’s via an ambulance for whatever reason, that leaves us with only one ambulance we can rely on.”
Tetford said this poses a significant issue for residents of Harbour Grace and surrounding areas by downgrading local services, adding the situation should be cause for great concern.
Tetford made a motion that Mayor Don Coombs write to or meet with both ambulance services in the area, which includes Moore’s and Smith’s, as well as MHA Pam Parsons.
Tetford added she would like some clarification on the downgrades, questioning whether the decision came from a lack of available funds, or simply because the need is not there.
“Now we’re down to two (ambulances), and Carbonear hospital could call on them any time to bring someone in to St. John’s. Then we’ve got one, and if we have an emergency here, what kind of trouble are we in?” Tetford said during the meeting.
“I’d just like to find out. Four people being laid off, and losing two ambulances … that’s a big deal.”
The motion ultimately came down to Coombs meeting with Moore’s Ambulance Services and Eastern Health to discuss the downsizing of services to the Town of Harbour Grace by Moore’s. The motion was carried, though no exact details were discussed.
The use of ambulance services in Harbour Grace was also addressed earlier in Tuesday night’s meeting, when Coun. Lyda Byrne brought up a call she had received from a Harbour Grace resident who has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and has been travelling back and forth to St. John’s daily for radiation and chemotherapy.
“He has advised that he will likely need ambulance services quite frequently throughout the winter,” Byrne said.
The resident has requested, if possible, some assistance with clearing snow from his driveway in hopes that ambulances will have easier access to his home.
Coombs stated that correspondence related to this request had been given to him very recently, and the situation will be discussed in further detail at the next regular council meeting.