Health workers in the US warn staff shortages will cause cuts to services and longer waits for 911 calls
Ambulance service providers are warning there are not enough emergency medical technicians and paramedics to cover calls in many parts of the US during pandemic pressures.
American Ambulance Association president Shawn Baird said many staff have quit due to pandemic burnout, leaving remaining staff to take on extra workloads.
“The magnitude has really blown up over the last few months,” he told Sky News affiliate NBC News.
“When you take a system that was already fragile and stretched it, because you didn’t have enough people entering the field, then you throw a public health emergency and all of the additional burdens that it put on our workforce as well as the labour shortages across the entire economy, and it really has put us in a crisis mode.”
A survey by the association last year found nearly a third of the workforce left their ambulance company after less than a year.
Ken Cummings, who leads Tri-Hospital EMS in Port Huron, Michigan, warned the situation means the US is now “going to start to see delays” in providing healthcare.