NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner must guarantee patient safety after major disruptions this week to the Ambulance Service of NSW.
Already this week, there has been:
- The sudden resignation today (July 21) of the Ambulance Service CEO Ray Creen – who has been head of the service for only two years as he took up the post on March 18, 2013 to return to South Australia;
- Widespread “bed block” in Sydney hospitals – where ambulances were lined up in emergency departments to dispatch patients; and
- The transfer of senior managers – who are qualified – from desk duties to the field to work as paramedics as their co-workers were stuck in emergency departments.
The NSW Ambulance Service is under growing pressure with an annual four per cent increase in call-outs.
It is now taking 30,000 more calls a year in Sydney than it did five years ago – but staff numbers have not increased.
In 2013-14, the NSW Ambulance Service responded to 1.2 million call outs State-wide; this is an average 3,383 responses a day – or one every 26 seconds.
The median ambulance response time in NSW has increase from 9.5 minutes in 2005-2006 to almost 11 minutes in 2014 under the Liberals and Nationals. This is two minutes longer than in Queensland, the ACT, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.
“The Ambulance Service of NSW is under enormous pressure and now there are serious questions surrounding Mr Creen’s departure,”said Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord.
“There are serious questions on how the new CEO will fix the growing problems within the Ambulance Service.”
“There is also widespread anger within the Ambulance Service about the lack of support from the Baird Government – and its failure to honour its election promise to provide more paramedics to ease the pressure on them.”
“Paramedics report they’re stuck for long periods in emergency departments and are unable to discharge patients because there are no beds for patients.”
“Paramedics want to be out in the community responding to emergency calls rather than sitting outside emergency departments.”
“In an emergency situation, every minute counts; this puts lives at risk.”
“Over the last six months, we have had reports of bed block at Royal Prince Alfred, Prince of Wales, St George, St Vincent’s, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Nepean, Bankstown and Westmead hospitals.”
“This is the human cost of the massive cuts to health by the Baird and Abbott governments.”
“The Baird Government has slashed $3 billion from the health and hospital system.”
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