Ambulance response times a mixed bag

THE Latrobe Valley’s ambulance service times have slightly improved over the past year but remain below the state’s average, data from Ambulance Victoria reveals.

The data, released last week, shows the region’s average ambulance response time for the September quarter was 14.1 minutes, compared to 14.52 minutes for the same timeframe last year.

The state’s median response time was 12.5 minutes.

Of the Latrobe Valley’s Code One incidents, 67.5 per cent met Ambulance Victoria’s response benchmark of 15 minutes, a 4.6 per cent increase from the September 2015 quarter.

However, this figure remains nine per cent below the state average of 76.7 per cent.

Member for Morwell Russell Northe said in order to improve response times, more resources were needed.

“While it’s all well and good to try and spruik that the latest statistics are a significant improvement, the reality is it’s only a very slight improvement, and in many categories, we still fall behind the state average,” he said.

“We know our paramedics do an amazing job and their absolute best, but the reality is to improve response times we need more resources servicing the Latrobe Valley.”

The Traralgon Ambulance Station, soon to be rebuilt, is resourced 24-hours and has a full-time MICA team manager on site to respond to emergencies as a MICA paramedic.

A MICA single responder is also based in Traralgon to provide additional high level clinical support.

From early October, Traralgon firefighters have been dispatched to calls for heart attack and non-breathing patients at the same time as local paramedics, in a bid to cut response times. It is not yet known what impact this has had on emergency responses.

Ambulance Services Minister Jill Hennessy said state-wide ambulance response times were the best they had been in five years.

“The government is continuing to invest in ambulance services in Traralgon and the Latrobe Valley whether it’s rebuilding the Traralgon ambulance station to give paramedics the modern and safe facilities they need, or through our $60 million Response Time Rescue Fund to provide faster emergency responses,” she said.