Long weekend shortfalls

MOST of Gippsland underwent periods where no ambulance was available over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, the State Opposition claimed this week.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews asked Premier Denis Napthine about the “shortfalls”, which he claimed affected Gippsland, and said it was “time to acknowledge the crisis gripping Ambulance Victoria”.

Mr Andrews said the “crisis” saw Moe, Morwell and Traralgon going without a staffed ambulance service during the long weekend.

“Clearly, not having a local ambulance available in case of emergency will lead to longer response times and put people’s lives at risk,” he said.

“This is what happened in Gippsland.”

AV regional manager Gippsland Mick Stephenson responded to those claims, telling The Express AV had “predicted a busy long weekend based on the activity of previous years and rostered extra crews on each night which we know can be busy and also difficult to find staff at short notice”.

“Gippsland staffing on that night was well in excess of normal levels and we were able to call in two extra crews at short notice when the workload spiked,” Mr Stephenson said.

“While we were busy we were able to cover all cases with no adverse outcomes, although in one instance with a longer response than we would have liked.

“Our priority is to get to the sickest patients as quickly as possible.

“The increase in demand for ambulance services and the time taken to transfer patients at hospitals can impact on our ability to respond to Triple Zero calls which is where some of our resources were tied up this weekend.”