‘Dangerously long waits’ for ambos

LEAKED ambulance response time data reveals dangerously long waits for ambulances across the state, with the longest in regional areas, according to the state opposition.

Shadow Health Minister Gavin Jennings said the data confirmed that, across the state, response times for the emergency (code one) ambulance cases were not meeting the 15 minute time frame.

He said time taken (in minutes) for 90 per cent of code one cases in Wellington was 30.85, while in East Gippsland the figure was higher at 34.67.

“These are the ambulance response times that Denis Napthine doesn’t want you to see,” Mr Jennings said.

“Ambulance response times across the state have gone backwards every year under the Coalition Government.

“Delays in regional Victoria are the longest.

“In an emergency, every second counts, and Denis Napthine is putting everyone at risk.”

The government benchmark for code one responses is 90 per cent within 15 minutes, and 85 per cent within 15 minutes in small regional areas (less than 7500 people).

However Health Minister David Davis said the figures did not describe the “time taken by 90 per cent of code one cases”, but was the 90th percentile figure, which was a different concept.

“The most recent data shows an improvement in response times, and this will be reported in the normal way in the Ambulance Victoria annual report,” he said.

“The Coalition Government has released more data than ever before, focused on clinical outcomes and survival rates.”

Mr Davis said key ambulance performance measures such as transfer times at hospitals and bypass has improved under the Coalition government.

“Outcomes have improved in country Victoria, with the Coalition Government’s roll-out of 10 MICA single responder units in regional centres, including Bairnsdale, Sale and Wonthaggi,” he said.

“The Coalition Government has recruited 539 additional paramedics across Victoria since coming to office, which means there are more paramedics than ever before.

“This includes more than 46 additional paramedics in the Gippsland region.”