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February 10, 2000
Toronto Ambulance Receives Top Marks In Public/Patient Survey
  
A recent public attitude survey has shown that Toronto residents give Toronto
Ambulance top marks for its services. The survey, conducted between December 9
and 22, 1999, measured public attitudes toward Toronto Ambulance's core
services and evaluated specific service personnel such as paramedics, 911
emergency medical dispatchers and staff who coordinate the transfer of
non-emergency patients.

Survey results report an "excellent" rating for front line staff and show a
high trust in services. Toronto's general population (73%) and patients (88%)
strongly/somewhat agree that Toronto Ambulance services "are first class."
Response times meet expectations, and almost nine in 10 people
strongly/somewhat agree that ambulances are staffed by well-trained personnel.

Ninety-three per cent of patients describe Toronto Ambulance Services as
"excellent/very good." With ratings exceeding 90%, patients agreed that Toronto
paramedics were very attentive and made them feel safe and secure on the way to
the hospital and throughout treatment.

When 911 callers were asked for an overall evaluation of Toronto Ambulance
emergency medical dispatchers, 83% responded "excellent/very good," 14% said
"good" and only 3% said "fair/poor." For the most part, facility staff who book
patient transfers are positive about the service overall (68% said the service
is "excellent/very good," with another 16% responding "good"). Staff who book
requests are helpful, prompt and knowledgeable.

"I am not surprised that Toronto Ambulance Services has scored so well in
meeting or exceeding public expectations," said Brad Duguid, Chair of the
Community Services Committee. "These results point to the excellence of our
front-line staff and the trust the public places in their hands to do an
exceptional job even under sometimes trying circumstances."

While knowledge of services is strong, there is a gap in knowledge about who
operates and/or funds ambulance services. A full three in 10 simply do not
know which level of government is involved. Many of those surveyed from
Toronto's general public (61%), feel there should be an increase in the per
cent of the total funding provided by government. Eleven per cent said there
should be an increase in the per cent of the total funding provided by
individual user fees.

The survey results revealed that Toronto Ambulance provides an extremely
important medical "safety net" for Toronto's most vulnerable citizens. Fully
88% of patients surveyed lived in homes with total incomes under $50,000 per
year. Earlier research has indicated that the majority of serious or
life-threatening emergency calls come from the older generation. As such,
Toronto Ambulance provides a critical point of contact between the elderly and
economically disadvantaged, and the health care system. This lead to an
understandable reluctance (supported by only 6% of lower income households) to
increase funding through user fees.

How willing were Toronto's citizens to help in an emergency? While there was
some difference between those with and without first aid and CPR training (83%
vs. 78%), and whether the person was known to them or a stranger (97% vs. 89%),
the majority (at least 78%) said that they would intervene in a medical
emergency.

Ron Kelusky, General Manager of Ambulance Services, remarked, "Naturally, we
are pleased to receive such a positive evaluation from Toronto residents. We
are, after all, 'People Helping People.' And while we are gratified that our
highest marks came from those who have actually used our services, we will
study these results thoroughly to find opportunities for further improvement."

NORTHSTAR Research Partners conducted telephone interviews with 450 Toronto
residents who were selected at random. They also interviewed 200 patients who
had recently used emergency ambulance services, 200 people who had called 911
and 100 facility staff who had booked non-emergency transfer services. The
margin of error for the survey results (at the 95% confidence level) ranges
from +/- 4.6 for the general population survey to +/- 6.9 for ambulance
patients and 911 callers and +/- 9.8 for facility staff. Within smaller
subgroups, confidence levels will vary.

For more information visit the Toronto Ambulance Web site


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