THE lives of residents are being put at risk because of an “ambulance crisis” on the Mornington Peninsula, says Hastings MP Neale Burgess.
“While our paramedics are doing everything they can to provide their life saving services in the fastest time possible, the state government is letting them and Victorians down badly,” he said.
“The latest quarterly performance data from Ambulance Victoria shows ambulance wait times are the highest they’ve been since the Andrews government came to power.”
The figures from Ambulance Victoria show 71 per cent of the 2669 callouts on the peninsula were responded to in 13 minutes 19 seconds as opposed to 12mins 15secs for 76 per cent of the 2510 calls the previous quarter.
“Victoria is the midst of a rapidly escalating public health system crisis. The figures from the January-March 2021 quarter highlight how extreme this crisis is becoming and how the government’s response has been grossly inadequate,” Mr Burgess said.
He said the Ambulance Victoria figures for the peninsula show blow-outs in wait times, with the average code 1 response time increasing by more than one minute in the last quarter. Also, that the percentage of code 1 ambulances responding within 15 minutes has fallen by 4.4 percentage points.
“The lives of locals in Somerville, Hastings and surrounding areas are being put at risk because of the state government’s growing ambulance crisis,” Mr Burgess said.
“We need proper investment and resourcing in Ambulance Victoria to ensure it’s a reliable service that these communities can rely on when it matters most.”
Ambulance Victoria metro regional director Michael Georgiou said the Victorian health care system, like the public health system across Australia, was experiencing “enormous pressure at present and Ambulance Victoria is not immune to this”.
Current levels of patient demand were the highest in the past 15 years, he said.
“We welcome the state government’s announcement of a $759 million package to address the challenging demand and COVID-recovery pressures across the public health system – including in rural and regional Victoria.
“The package includes significant funding to support Ambulance Victoria to provide the right care at the right time and ensure that emergency ambulances are available for those needing time-critical care.
“But, we can always do better, and Ambulance Victoria continues to invest in initiatives to provide regional and rural Victorians with access to the best of care.”
To see ambulance performance data visit ambulance.vic.gov.au/about-us/our-performance
Mr Georgiou said the 85 per cent benchmark is a state-wide aggregate target. “Typically, areas with large, geographically concentrated populations, such as cities and suburbs, record faster response times, with paramedics travelling to many more cases over shorter distances,” he said. “In more rural or remote and sparsely populated areas where distances are greater, it can take longer for an ambulance to reach the scene.
“What is of concern is in the past three months alone, more than 36,000 callers to 000 did not need an emergency ambulance and were, instead, connected to more appropriate care through Ambulance Victoria’s secondary triage service.
“When an ambulance responds to a non-emergency call, it takes paramedics away from life-threatening emergencies.”
For health advice call Nurse on Call 1300 606 024 for free medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If the situation is not life-threatening, contact your GP. For anyone experiencing heart or breathing problems or who needs urgent medical attention call 000.