Diverting and triaging patients who call 911 for emergency medical care away from hospitals is fraught with risks, warn paramedics with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
CUPE was responding to news Monday the province plans to revamp its ambulance system to redirect some patients with less pressing needs to places other than emergency rooms.
The government announced its new system will start rolling out in March 2018 and will better prioritize calls based on patient need.
It says more than one million patients were transported by land or air ambulance in 2015, and only one per cent were the most critically ill and required immediate emergency transportation.
The Liberal government says it plans to update the Ambulance Act to allow paramedics to provide on-scene treatment and refer patients to primary care or community care, instead of hospitals, if appropriate.