REPORTS Bendigo single-responder paramedics have been forced to transport patients to hospital in the front seat of an ambulance have sparked fresh concerns about the service's staffing levels.
Victorian Ambulance Union secretary Danny Hill said this situation was a clear sign there were not enough paramedics in Bendigo, putting patients at risk.
Mr Hill said he knew of four occasions in the past week when a solo-responder, intensive care (MICA) paramedic had been forced to transport a patient to hospital because a stretcher ambulance was not available.
He said the ambulance passenger seat was the only option to transport someone in that situation, an inappropriate position for someone sick enough to require a MICA paramedic.
It would be an unsafe situation for both the patient and paramedic in the case of a quick deterioration of condition, he said.
Mr Hill said it was part of a broader pattern of a paramedic shortage in Bendigo.
He said staffing gaps were regular, while paramedics covering surrounding towns were forced to come in to Bendigo to cover cases when the city's crews were unavailable.
"Everywhere is busy, but Bendigo really seems to take the cake. It really would be getting into a dangerous situation," Mr Hill said.
"More and more our members are really feeling the strain of the workload, feeling the stress of the workload, and more and more concerned it's going to lead to a situation where they can't get to the patient in time, and the patient suffers as a result."
Ambulance Victoria Loddon Mallee regional director Michael Georgiou said demand had increased since COVID-19 restrictions eased, but the service was running additional resourcing.
Mr Georgiou said more additional resourcing would begin shortly to address the heat and summer tourism.
He said he was confident this would address demand.