Committee receives update on taxi pilot for low acuity patients

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal red stripe are in the foreground with "Emergency Preparedness and Protective Services Committee update" in the centre.

On Oct. 19, the City’s Emergency Preparedness and Protective Services Committee today received an update on a new pilot project from Ottawa Paramedic Service that uses taxis instead of ambulances to transport select low acuity (less urgent or non-urgent) patients, based on their needs. 

The Safe Alternate Transportation Pilot(link is external) is one of several strategies that paramedics have implemented over the past two and a half years to help with ongoing challenges, including the excessive amount of time they continue to spend waiting in offload delay at hospitals. Beginning on November 1, the service will begin using local taxis to transport select low acuity patients of the Smart Transportation Program and the Mental Wellbeing Response Team to a destination that is best suited for meeting their immediate and individual health care needs, when appropriate. Taxi service will only be arranged after a patient has been fully assessed by paramedics, and when that patient does not require further treatment by a paramedic on the way to their destination. All individuals transported safely by taxi will receive a follow-up call from a paramedic within 24 hours. 

This pilot aims to reduce the impacts of offload delay and reduce occurrences of level zero, to maximize the availability of paramedics in the community. 

The Committee also approved minor amendments(link is external) to update and correct several by-laws, to ensure that they are up to date and can be easily interpreted and enforced. The changes do not alter the intent of the by-laws: rather, they update terms and definitions that have changed over time, correct errors, and ensure consistent use of inclusive language. 

Reports requiring approval will rise to Council on Wednesday, October 25. 

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