More paramedics are ready to start in the Loddon Mallee region as Ambulance Victoria battles to keep response times down.
Data from Ambulance Victoria shows between January and March, there was a 10.6 per cent increase in Greater Bendigo Code 1 cases from the same time last year.
Across Victoria paramedics were called to a record high 93,234 Code 1 cases between January and March.
The increased caseload has seen - between January and March - paramedics attend 67.7 per cent of Code 1 patients in the Greater Bendigo within 15 minutes compared to 74.5 per cent for the same time last year.
Ambulance Victoria Loddon Mallee acting regional director Amelia Kohn said to help respond to this increasing demand, Ambulance Victoria recruited 700 paramedics in 2021 - its single largest annual recruitment ever.
"This recruitment drive continues with 174 paramedics already on board so far this year to help get more ambulances on the road and to patients quicker," Ms Kohn said. "I welcome all our new graduates and already experienced paramedics and wish them the best for long and rewarding careers at Ambulance Victoria."
Of the 57 new graduate paramedics starting on May 2, eight will go to branches in the Loddon Mallee Region including Gisborne, Kyabram, Kyneton, Maryborough, Mildura, Swan Hill, Irymple, and Echuca.
Ambulance Victoria acting chief executive Libby Murphy said ambulance responses in the last quarter were impacted by the Omicron variant.
"As part of a health system and our broader society, paramedics are not immune to COVID-19, with a peak of more than 500 paramedics sick, symptomatic or isolating in January," she said. "Today, we still have about 150 staff in isolation most days."
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