Posted on 21. Jan, 2013 in News

The Baillieu Government haven failed to equip Ambulance Victoria with facilities to deal with obese patients, Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Wade Noonan, said today.

Mr Noonan said the coroner was preparing to investigate two deaths in regional Victoria, where a Complex Patient Ambulance Vehicle (CPAV), a specialised ambulance with facilities for shifting and caring for large patients, allegedly failed to arrive in time.

“Labor funded five CPAVs, but the Baillieu Government haven’t lifted a finger despite an increasing proportion of population being diagnosed as obese,” Mr Noonan said.

Of five CPAVs currently in operation, two are located in metropolitan Melbourne while the other three are located in Geelong, Bendigo and Sale.

“Being obese increases the risk of a large number of health concerns, but not having access to ambulatory care due to a lack of funding from the state is cruel and discriminatory,” he said.

“And the situation is getting worse not better – the corner is investigating whether two people have died because these specialised ambulance vehicles were not available.

“The fact is if an obese person suffers a serious medical problem, regardless of how close they are to a hospital, without more CPAVs these patients face a potentially lethal wait.

“Clearly this is a significant problem in regional Victoria, as Geelong, Bendigo and Sale are the only regional centres with CPAVs.”

Mr Noonan said the Baillieu Government had earned a reputation of undermining ambulance paramedics in Victoria by failing to provide the necessary support to the State’s hard-working paramedics.

“Under Ted Baillieu we have seen waiting times for regular ambulances blow out, ramping time double and more patients having to wait in ambulances because of the chronic underfunding from his government.” Mr Noonan said.

“On top of this is the two year failure to invest in more CPAVs. The simple reality is we need more of these CPAs as the population is also becoming more overweight.”

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