Ambulance vow highlights need for study

THE state opposition’s pledge to recruit 300 new ambulance officers at a cost of about $150 million should it win the November 27 election highlights the need for far greater scrutiny of such a vital and important service.The commitment comes on the back of several well-publicised problems with ambulances in country areas, including deaths while country Victorians waited for ambulances.And while the opposition plan for 210 extra paramedics in country Victoria, and an extra 100 paramedics in Melbourne is welcome, it should not in any way be seen as a substitute or alternative to a much-needed inquiry into our ambulance service and the way it has served the people of this state in more recent times.For its part, the state government is understood to be just days away from its own announcement on ambulance services, and government ministers will no doubt be frustrated that the opposition has stolen the march, albeit only temporarily, on something as important as ambulance services.But Victorians need to have full confidence in the management of the state’s ambulance service and to be assured that everything possible is being done to deliver the best service that we are all entitled to. The recent reports of unacceptable delays and the lack of back-up at some country centres has eroded public confidence in Ambulance Victoria and this can only be addressed by tackling these critical issues head on.

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