Fears of call-out wait rise in Bendigo

UNDER-RESOURCING of ambulance stations in Bendigo has raised concerns there won’t be enough paramedics to respond to the greater demand expected over the Easter long weekend.

Local paramedics said they were bracing for a spike in call-outs as more visitors filed into the city, but they were unsure whether the staff allocations woud be able to meet the rise in incidents.

Their concerns were heightened after a number of recent cases where patients in Bendigo were forced to wait for an ambulance to come from an outlying area.

In one reported incident last Sunday, a man suffering chest pain had to wait almost two hours to be transported to hospital, after an ambulance was called in from Heathcote.

The code-one incident was responded to by a single response unit just after 8pm but he was unable to be taken to hospital until 10.05pm.

Bendigo paramedic Brett Adie said that type of scenario was becoming far too common, with ambulances from outer regions like Heathcote, Castlemaine and even Echuca increasingly relied on to cover demand in Bendigo.

“It’s not an unusual occurence.. that almost happens on a daily basis.” 

Ambulance Victoria regional manager for Loddon-Mallee Kevin Masci said major events such as the Easter weekend in Bendigo were given priority for additional resources.

He said an extra 80 resource hours had been allocated over the Easter period to cater for increased demand.

“We’d like to be able to send an ambulance immediately,” he said. 

“Sometimes this just isn’t possible and we understand that it can be concerning for those waiting. Our systems identify the most serious cases and we send ambulances to the sickest patients first.” 

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