THE latest statistics from Ambulance Victoria show people needing an ambulance locally are waiting longer than the state’s average, with concerns increased workloads for paramedics has not corresponded with increased resources.
Ambulance Victoria aims to respond to code one incidents – emergency responses with lights and sirens – within 15 minutes for 85 per cent of incidents state-wide, and respond to code one incidents within 15 minutes for 90 per cent of incidents in centres with populations greater than 7500.
From January 1 to March 31 in Wellington Shire, only 57.1 per cent of ambulances arrived in under 15 minutes in instances of code one first responses, well over the state average of 75.1 per cent, with an average response time of 17.31s (past the state average of 13.19s).
About 33.5 per cent of Wellington Shire’s total number of first responses were in Sale (226 out of the shire’s 674), which also fell short of Ambulance Victoria’s targets, with 81.4 per cent of ambulances arriving in under 15 minutes, with an average time of 11.09s.
Response times measure the time from a Triple Zero (000) call being answered and registered by the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority, to the time the first resource arrives at the incident scene.
Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien said he had been contacted by constituents in recent months who were concerned at how long it is taking ambulances to arrive.
“I’ve had local paramedics raise their concerns with me over recent months as the workload has increased and the resources are simply not there,” Mr O’Brien said.
“We are regularly seeing ambulances having to be dispatched from distant towns because there are just not enough ambulances available when needed.”
Mr O’Brien said there was no doubt that there is an increase in demand on the health system.
“… I hate to say it, but this is something I warned of last year as the government’s prolonged lockdowns continued – that is that people would put off important check-ups and health appointments because of the lockdowns and the fear of COVID.
“These chickens are now coming home to roost as our emergency departments and ambulances are placed under pressure.
“… the feedback I get from the community and our hard-working paramedics is that things have never been tougher than in recent months.
“It’s up to the Andrews Government to address these issues and ensure that people in the greatest need of an ambulance get it as quickly as possible.”