Finally this week, we wrap up with another budget driven EMS news item. The City of Long Beach California is proposing a change to the current staffing of their ALS units to move from ambulances with 2 paramedics per unit to staffing those same units with just one paramedic and an EMT. The additional paramedics freed up by this would move to placements on the city’s fire engines, fully staffing all of them with paramedics.

Two Paramedic to Single Paramedic Units

Paramedic in Ambulance Talking on RadioThe city says that two paramedics would eventually respond to all advanced life support calls since an engine is dispatched along with the ambulances. But, as would be expected when any staffing shift in a system with unionized labor, the Union is against it.

Ok, I get it.

The union is supposed to protect their members from changes that will potentially affect their pay. But the union isn’t saying that’s their reason for stalling the plan. They are citing patient care concerns. Don’t they realize that this is completely transparent to the public? Why don’t they just say what they mean, that they are concerned that this change will mean less money in the pockets of their membership?

Not a Fan of Unions

First off, let me say that I’m no fan of unions. While I think they had their place in the past when there was little protections for our workers, that time has largely passed. They’ve just become another special interest group and while they are alway vocal about their concerns about public safety, their concerns rarely ring true, especially at a time when all municipalities are struggling to make ends meet.

Two paramedics on a unit is an extravagance in my opinion. Sure, having two ALS providers is helpful but most of the time, one of them in driving and unable to assist with care. We need to offer a better service to our public if we want them to continue to fund the services we provide them.

Paramedic Staffing Cutbacks Is Real Issue

So in this instance, I have to say, “Sit down and shut up!” Keep the hollow concerns about patient care to yourself or at least have the guts to stand up and say what you mean when stating your concerns. I’m an EMS provider but I’m also a taxpayer, too and I’m getting tired of my leaders both in government and other places treating me like I’m an idiot who’ll take everything they say at face value.

Okay, enough said. I’m sure there are a lot of you that don’t agree with me. That’s okay. Shoot me an email with your point of view and maybe I can share your thoughts with the rest of the audience here on the MedicCast. Send that in to I truly look forward to hearing from you and I respond back to every email that comes in.


You can follow up on the link to this news item and all of the additional resource links in the show notes for this episode — Hypothyroidism EMS Review and Episode 322.


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