Health Services Union NSW

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MEDIA RELEASE
Thursday, 27 November 2014 

NSW AMBULANCE STAFFING CRISIS AFFECTING RESPONSE TIMES.

Health Services Union (HSU) officials have met with NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner today over a range of issues including Ambulance response times.

HSU State Secretary Gerard Hayes told the minister ambulance officers were responding to a growing number of calls and there were not enough paramedics to meet the demand, or to properly cover the number of shifts on Ambulance Service rosters.

“We need an extra 250 paramedics in Sydney alone to keep up with the growing demand,” Mr Hayes said. “We want a commitment from the Government to fund these extra positions before the March election.”

He told the Minister the Union was concerned about reports from members they were being sent long distances to attend to patients, while leaving areas close to their ambulance stations uncovered. For example, an ambulance might be sent from St Ives to Western Sydney, because ambulances from the West have been sent to cover shortages in the City.

“Unless the Government commits to increasing the number of paramedics around the State, we will continue to have problems with response times,” Mr Hayes said.

Too many paramedics are still stuck outside hospitals attending to patients waiting to go into Emergency Departments that are already full.

“In most cases ambulances should be able to respond and attend a patient within ten minutes but until the government addresses these systemic problems, response times will continue to blow out.”

FURTHER COMMENT: Gerard Hayes  0417275821

MEDIA CONTACT: John Hill  0412197079