#ImmigrationMatters in Vancouver, British Columbia – Improving emergency care for British Columbians during the pandemic

Improving emergency care for British Columbians during the pandemic

January 21, 2022

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Leon Baranowski (left) and Tim Makrides (right)
Photo credit: Emily Serrell

It was family that brought both Leon Baranowski and Tim Makrides to Canada. Leon, originally from the United Kingdom, met his partner during one of his annual ski trips to Whistler. Tim, originally from Australia, and his Canadian wife met abroad and chose the West Coast to raise their family.

“My boys have such a great life in Vancouver. Canada has provided a life for my children that is full of an amazing sense of community,” says Tim.

Despite being from different countries, the two have a lot in common. In addition to following their hearts to Vancouver, both are advanced care paramedics. While working for British Columbia Emergency Health Services, they share a wealth of experience from their home countries, where areas of the field are more advanced.

“In the United Kingdom, I enjoyed going into a patient’s home and putting together a care plan that identified all their needs and how best to treat them without taking them to the Emergency Department. Now in Canada, as leaders in our field, Tim and I get to lead amazing teams of paramedics who are helping to improve our system of care to provide patients with better access to the health care they need,” says Leon.

Their insights and expertise couldn’t have come at a better time. Both paramedics have played a key role in advancing the paramedic profession and health care for British Columbians during the pandemic.

As Interim Director of Clinical and Professional Practice, Leon worked with his teams to use technology like virtual appointments so vulnerable Canadians could stay home throughout the pandemic.

Tim, who is now the Manager of Clinical Services, worked with his team to develop an air ambulance plan to safely transport patients with COVID-19 without spreading the virus. He’s also shared this practice internationally. Tim is now responsible for the delivery of clinical services and alternative models of care to lessen demands on emergency departments.

“British Columbia Emergency Health Services was able to react more quickly to the challenges of COVID-19 because Tim and Leon applied practices learned overseas to our environment in BC,” says former boss Joe Acker, who is now Chief Executive Officer at Ambulance Tasmania. “By bringing in educated and experienced paramedic professionals, we were able to rapidly advance our own practices.”

Leon and Tim’s shared vision and dedication have greatly improved emergency care in the face of unprecedented challenge. From supporting virtual health to working with their teams to redesign how British Columbians access care from home, the two have played an important role in improving health care standards in the province.

Immigration profile: Vancouver, British Columbia (Census Metropolitan Area)

Quick facts:

  • Immigrants in the Vancouver area represent 41% of the population.
  • More than 58% of immigrants who came to the Vancouver area between 1980 and 2016 were economic immigrants, while nearly a third (31%) were sponsored by family and 9% were refugees.
  • In Canada, immigrants make up 1 out of 4 health care sector workers, including 36% of physicians, 23% of registered nurses and 37% of pharmacists.

Did you know?

  • Almost 500,000 workers in the health-care sector are over the age of 55 and likely to retire in the next decade or so. There’s an opportunity for immigrants to play an important role in ensuring Canadians have continued access to high-quality care. Read more about what immigration does for our country.

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