• Loddon Herald

Ambos 'need more resources'

AMBULANCE response times across the Loddon have blown out and local MPs want an immediate boost to resources in the region.

Ripon MP Louise Staley said recent Ambulance Victoria data showed 27.3 per cent of Code 1 calls in Loddon were attended by an ambulance within the target of 15 minutes.

Loddon is well below the state-wide average of 75.1 per cent and further behind the Ambulance Victoria target of 85 per cent.

And Murray Plains MP Peter Walsh said the situation was not improving.

He said that in the third quarter 2019-2020, an appalling 38.2 per cent of 144 Code 1 calls in Loddon were responded to within 20.52 minutes but in the matching period for 2020-2021 the time had blown out to 23.32 minutes.

“Our region’s hard-working paramedics, ambulance community officers and Community Emergency Response Teams do an incredible job under challenging circumstances, but they urgently need more resources,” Ms Staley said.

“Every one of these statistics is a person who didn’t get an ambulance in the time the Andrews Labor Government promised he or she would, and they reflect an ambulance system at breaking point and badly under-resourced.”

Mr Walsh said the blowout was not the fault of the frontline ambos, they were simply being overstretched with not enough resources to meet demand.

“Incredibly, Loddon Code 1 response times have collapsed compared with Ambulance Victoria’s statewide target of responding to 85 per cent of Code 1 calls within 15 minutes or less,” Mr Walsh said.

“Communities across my electorate of Murray Plains continue to face terrible delays for ambulances.”

Mr Walsh said data for the January-March 2021 quarter also revealed Loddon residents classified as Code 2 had seen their response times hit desperate lows, from an unacceptable 31.09 in 2019-2020 to 39.02 in 2020-2021, with an increase of just nine callouts.

Ms Staley said that in the lead-up to the 2014 election, Premier Andrews spoke about ambulance response times, saying “those minutes matter and too many people have waited too long for an ambulance and, you know, people have actually died, and we can’t settle for that”.

“It seems that, in the case of ambulance response times, the Premier’s memory is short, and when it comes down to it, he is willing to risk lives and settle for a system in crisis,” Ms Staley said.

Mr Walsh said: “In regional Victoria, an ambulance is more likely to fail to meet a Code 1 response time than to fulfil it.”

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