Hamilton to get new Ornge land ambulance base

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New facility will increase air ambulance availability for outlying rural and remote areas. Photo credit: Orgne


Ornge, the non-profit organization that coordinates Ontario’s air ambulance system, will be opening a new, permanent Critical Care Land Ambulance (CCLA) Base in Hamilton this fall.

Ornge also manages Ontario’s critical care land transport program which transfers patients requiring high levels of care and the authorization of air and land ambulance transfers between hospitals.

The new facility, which will be just south of Rymal Road East at 1725 Upper James Street, will include a three-bay ambulance garage. The base is strategically located close to the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, Highway 403, and Highway 6.

The base will be co-located with CritiCall Ontario, an organization funded by the Ministry of Health that acts as a 24-hour-a-day emergency consultation and referral service for hospital-based physicians.

It will be a “new resource to support the transport of critically ill individuals between hospitals in the Golden Horseshoe,” according to a statement.

“This new base represents a significant investment in critical care patient transport services,” says Dr. Homer Tien, president and CEO of Ornge. “We are confident it will strengthen our ability to deliver the highest standard of care to the people of Hamilton and surrounding communities.”

The organization’s CCLA program reportedly helps to relieve pressure on municipal land ambulance services, reduces the need for hospitals to provide escort staff for critical transfers and allows Ornge to increase air ambulance availability for rural and remote areas.

Ornge has other CCLA bases across the province including in Chatham-Kent, Mississauga, Ottawa, and Peterborough.

The new Hamilton base will open all seven days of the week for 12 hours each day.

Hamilton is already a common destination for Ornge’s orange helicopters, often transferring patients from car crashes to Hamilton General Hospital which has a specialized trauma centre. 

Hamilton also has specialized critical care programs for burn patients and cardiac patients.

Ornge transports about 20,000 patients annually and has a team of approximately 650 staff.

An Ornge Critical Care ambulance with two paramedics was temporarily based at the Hamilton Paramedic Service base during the COVID pandemic to facilitate increased patient transfers, but this new base will be permanent.

The Upper James base will primarily support the Niagara Region, Guelph, Halton, and Kitchener-Waterloo.

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