Patients left waiting, says paramedic

AMBULANCE shortages left a cardiac patient waiting for 25 minutes on Tuesday night, says paramedic Brett Adie.

 "We had some quite sick people who had to wait," Mr Adie said.

"One man, in particular, had to wait for an ambulance from Heathcote.

"He ended up being a code one transport to hospital, so he was in a very dangerous condition when paramedics arrived.

"Anywhere in that time it could have turned pear-shaped.

"It was a heart arrhythmia, something we treat very highly, but he had to wait for an ambulance from Heathcote.

"It was 25 minutes he had to wait."

Ambulance Victoria acting regional manager Kerry Power said multiple ambulances had responded to patients in Bendigo and surrounding communities on Tuesday night.

“We always prioritise our ambulances to respond to the sickest patients first, particularly those with life-threatening conditions, and that’s what occurred during a two-hour period of increased demand for ambulance services in the area," he said.

“Duty managers in our communications centre have systems and technology that assist in understanding where ambulance resources are at all times and on Tuesday night were very active in managing ambulance resources so we could respond to the needs of the community."

Mr Power said there were procedures in place to divert crews to higher priority cases.

“From about 9pm on Tuesday, three Bendigo-based paramedic crews were called to attend urgent patients within a 25-minute period and a fourth Bendigo-based ambulance about 30 minutes later," he said.

“As a result, Castlemaine and Heathcote-based crews helped provide ambulance coverage in the area, with the Heathcote crew diverted from a case they had been assigned to be available to respond to a higher-priority patient requiring more-urgent care."

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