Letter: Ontario ambulances

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Sir: The Canadian Ontario Health Insurance Plan might serve as a model for our ambulance service. While in Toronto last autumn, my stepmother fell at home, knocking herself out. I dialled the emergency number - which was answered immediately - and I asked for an ambulance. However, faced with my father's evident distress, I momentarily put the receiver down.

Within seconds the ambulance service called me back, inquiring why I had rung. I described the situation, saying that I was not sure whether I needed an ambulance. I was kindly told that they would make that decision and was asked a few pertinent questions. The ambulance arrived in under five minutes.

Typically, the very efficient paramedic head of team was a Scotsman with a strong Glaswegian accent. He thought Ontario was a fine place to live.

Yours sincerely,

JUDITH STEINER

London, N6

30 October

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