Posted on 27. Mar, 2013 in News

Premier Denis Napthine has failed to guarantee Victoria’s most popular holiday destinations will have paramedics on duty over the busy Easter period, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Wade Noonan said today.

Mr Noonan said that shortfalls in ambulance staffing across the recent Labour Day long weekend had prompted the State Opposition to raise the matter in the Victorian Parliament and seek assurances that the Easter period would not be under-staffed.

“We are very concerned that over the Easter weekend, Victorians across the state’s holiday destinations will be dangerously exposed by ambulance staffing shortfalls,” Mr Noonan said.

“This has happened before, after a man drowned on the Mornington Peninsula during March’s Labour Day weekend at a time when the closest ambulance station had no staff rostered on.

“Indeed, on last year’s Labour Day weekend, a man died on Phillip Island after waiting 35 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Despite a tenfold increase in the Island’s population across the holiday period, it turned out there were no ambulances on the Island at the time of the man’s death.

“This sets a worrying precedent right before the Easter weekend, but the Premier, when questioned by the State Opposition about staffing levels for this weekend, failed to guarantee any additional resources to cope with the demand pressures on our ambulance service.

“What this means is if someone falls severely ill or badly hurts themselves, they could be left without an ambulance on duty, resulting in a long, potentially life-threatening wait for care.”

Mr Noonan said that every minute counts when it comes to ambulance response times and the speed in which an ambulance arrived could be the difference between life and death.

“Before the election, the Victorian Coalition said Victorians deserve the highest quality ambulance services and have the right to expect timely responses during emergencies,” he said.

“However, now in Government, ambulance response times are going backwards and placing Victorian lives at risk.

“Melburnians could reasonably expect an ambulance to arrive in about 15 minutes when Labor was in Government, but under Mr Napthine, waiting times have blown out to almost 19 minutes, while the state-wide waiting time has blown out to 22 minutes for 90 per cent of cases.

“Mr Napthine cannot just hope things will be okay over Easter – he must commit extra resources to Ambulance Victoria to make sure Victorians are safe this holiday.”

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