Peak body calls for more ambulance staff

Maryborough needs a MICA single response ambulance crew, additional staff and routine transport officers, the state’s peak ambulance union says.

The Ambulance Employees Association is calling on the state government to better resource the town’s ambulance service following the death of a 73-year-old Maryborough man who died on Friday while the town’s on duty paramedics attended another case.

It is believed the man died after waiting up to 30 minutes for an ambulance while off duty staff were instead called to respond.

Ambulance Victoria says it recently increased resources in Maryborough with two permanent crews now available daily, a permanent crew on every night and staff on stand-by.

But state secretary of the AEA, Steve McGhie says Maryborough is “a kind of black hole” when it comes to ambulance services with paramedics frequently tied up on out of town non-emergency patient transport duties, to the peril of residents.

“Maryborough needs to have additional ambulance resources there if the ambulance crew are going out of town because they’re out of town for up to three hour periods,” Mr McGhie said.

“If they’re being utilised on non emergency jobs then the ambulance service has to provide enough resources in and around Maryborough to cover for their absence or provide alternative resources such as patient transport officers, that do those non-emergency jobs, to keep the ambulance paramedics in town

“We’ve put a submission in to government for 100 patient transport officers for around the state to try and ease some of the burden on emergency crews in regard to doing non-urgent work and tying up emergency crews on non-urgent work.”

Mr McGhie said the union believes Maryborough needs at least two such non-emergency patient transport officers.

“But two patient transport officers are only going to be available Monday to Friday, for day shift so the question is whether two is enough. It may not be,” he said.

“The government should also be putting in a MICA single response unit at Maryborough, because the closest MICA paramedics to Maryborough are at Castlemaine, Bendigo or Ballarat — so they’re sort of in a bit of a black hole there.

“They need to have some MICA paramedics rostered at Maryborough.”

The AEA is awaiting next week’s state budget announcements to learn whether its submissions to the state government have won ground.

“I’m concerned that more lives will be put at risk if there’s not enough ambulance paramedics in Maryborough,” he said.

“They’re in a bit of a black hole there at Maryborough.”

The AEA says Maryborough also needs at least four more paramedics to field another night shift crew.

“With what’s happened in Maryborough over the last three years in regard to unfortunate delays to emergency cases — and we’ve seen numerous instances of people dying — I think the town deserves it,” Mr McGhie said.

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