THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Ontario is set to revolutionize emergency medical services (EMS) in Thunder Bay and its surrounding district with the implementation of the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS), starting January 24. This internationally recognized patient triage system is designed to optimize call prioritization, equip paramedics with more precise information, and ensure a more effective response to true emergencies.
Paramedics throughout Ontario are currently dispatched by Ministry of Health Ambulance Communications Officers, trained as Emergency Medical Dispatchers. The Thunder Bay dispatch center, tasked with handling 911 calls, coordinates the deployment of Superior North EMS paramedics throughout the city and district.
The integration of MPDS will introduce a new framework for call assessment. Dispatchers will utilize a revised set of questions to garner comprehensive patient details. This enhanced information will aid in a more effective triage process, ensuring that emergency medical situations are prioritized accurately. Furthermore, the system takes into account the availability of EMS resources to guarantee a consistent response to the most critical calls.
Shane Muir, Chief of Superior North EMS, highlighted the positive impact of MPDS in five other Ontario regions, noting improved response times and prioritization efficiency. “These areas have witnessed faster paramedic responses to urgent calls, significantly enhancing service quality for those in dire need. We anticipate similar benefits for Thunder Bay and its district,” Muir stated.
A notable feature of the MPDS model is its ability to reduce the over-prioritization of calls, a common issue in the current system. This optimization will decrease unnecessary deployment of paramedic resources for non-urgent situations, allowing for more focused community service.
Calls deemed low priority will be dispatched only when resources permit, with Ambulance Communication Officers conducting follow-up calls to monitor patient conditions until paramedic arrival. The new system underscores the province’s commitment to public health and safety, ensuring that residents experiencing medical emergencies receive prompt and appropriate assistance.
Residents are reminded to continue using the 9-1-1 service for emergency medical needs. Superior North EMS covers an extensive area, including Thunder Bay, Upsala, Manitouwadge, and extends north to Armstrong, ensuring comprehensive coverage for the district.