Posted on 04. Apr, 2013 in News
A lucrative contract to provide first aid and emergency medical care to the state’s fire-fighters was won by a company which reportedly doesn’t have the facilities to fulfil the important role, Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Health Wade Noonan said today.
Mr Noonan said the safety of DSE and CFA fire-fighters was paramount and Premier Denis Napthine needed to explain if the contract holder was still in a position to ensure their safety.
“This government contract was awarded to EMSA on the basis it had ‘state-wide resources’, which appears not to be the case in media reports today,” Mr Noonan said.
“This company is charged with providing vital medical services to fire-fighters, who clearly work in dangerous situations – how can a small backyard operation fulfil this contract?
“The Napthine Government needs to explain whether the business has changed its operations and if so whether or not the terms of the contract can still be fulfilled.
“We need to do everything in our power to protect the safety of fire-fighters and Mr Napthine must act immediately.”
Mr Noonan said the Napthine Government also needed to review the legislative framework of emergency and safety services, following reports of other public events across Victoria where basic first aid provision wasn’t available.
“I have raised this issue in parliament – that poorly organised public events were tying up Ambulance Victoria’s resources and compromising its capacity to respond to emergencies in the community,” he said.
“Ambulance Victoria has reported that whole communities have been left with either limited or no ambulance coverage as they responded to requests for help at public events, chiefly due to a lack of regulation to guide event organisers.
“Across the most recent Australia Day long weekend, the entire upper Hume region of Victoria was exposed to long delays while ambulances responded to five calls to Mount Buller in just one day to attend to injured riders who were competing in a downhill cycling event.
“I’m sure some would put this down to bad luck, but the truth is the drain on our ambulance service was more likely caused by bad management. It’s clear that Ambulance Victoria is growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of engagement from some event organisers.
“Our ambulance service works with more than 200 event organisers each year to ensure that they can be prepared to respond to any calls for help. I have written to the Health Minister, David Davis, about the lack of proper statutory framework for public events and provision of first aid and I have requested a review.
“We need to ensure that poorly planned events no longer pose the threat of leaving communities vulnerable due to a lack of ambulances.”