Posted on 23. Oct, 2013 in News

Victoria’s emergency triple zero call taking service is failing to meet the Napthine Government’s own ambulance dispatch targets, leading to dangerous delays in ambulance response times.

Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Wade Noonan said ESTA’s 2012-13 Annual Report revealed that only 83.2 per cent of code 1 emergency responses were dispatched within the benchmark time of 150 seconds.

“Our ambulance service has been forced to bear the brunt of Denis Napthine’s failing health system and sick patients are being left to wait from the moment they call triple-0 for help,” Mr Noonan said.

“Many of our triple-0 call takers can’t send help to critically ill people because too many ambulances are simply not available to respond.

“Some ambulances are taking longer than 10 minutes to be dispatched to life threatening code 1 cases, because there are no ambulances available.

“Just last week, it took the triple-0 service 12 minutes to dispatch an ambulance to an unconscious man in Melbourne’s west.”

Mr Noonan said Ambulance Victoria Board minutes obtained by the State Opposition under Freedom of Information revealed that ambulance dispatch delays were a symptom of a deepening ambulance crisis.

“ESTA told Ambulance Victoria they believe that delays in dispatching ambulances to emergencies were due to a lack of resources,” he said.

“ESTA says this is principally due to hospital emergency department pressures involving ambulances being ramped up and rendered out of service.

“We need our ambulances out on the road, not parked up outside the front door of a hospital emergency department for hours and hours.”

Mr Noonan said the delay in dispatch times placed pressure on ambulances to meet arrival time targets.

“Across Victoria, one in four ambulances are failing to respond to life-threatening emergencies within the Government’s own 15 minute target,” he said.

“When it comes to ambulance response times, every minute matters. For some, it can be the difference between life and death.

“For all his excuses, the fact is under Denis Napthine, our ambulance system is getting worse.”

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