FASTER AMBULANCE RESPONSE TIMES FOR WANGARATTA
The Andrews Labor Government has repaired the damage inflicted on our ambulance service by the former Liberal/National Government, with state-wide ambulance response times restored to what they were before the Liberals and Nationals went to war with our paramedics.
The latest ambulance and hospital performance data show ambulance response times are the best in seven years, with 80 per cent of Code One emergency calls responded to within the target of 15 minutes – the first time it has reached that mark since the former Labor Government was in power in 2010.
During the height of the previous Government’s ambulance crisis in 2012/13, just 73 per cent of Code One ambulance response times met the 15 minute benchmark, meaning too many Victorians in life-threatening emergencies waited too long for an ambulance.
Over the past 12 months, thanks to the Labor Government’s record investment in, and reform of, our ambulance service, response times have improved from 75.6 per cent of Code One calls meeting the 15 minute benchmark, to 80 per cent.
In Wangaratta, we are seeing significant improvement, with 75.3 per cent of ambulances now arriving within 15 minutes for Code One emergencies, up from 71.5 per cent this time last year.
This means the average time for an ambulance to reach the scene of a Code One emergency in Wangaratta over the same period has improved from 14:32 minutes to 13:11.
“It’s simple, instead of going to war with our paramedics and slashing funding, we’re investing in more paramedics, more ambulances and more branches,” Ms Symes said.
“With the response times continuing to improve, families in Wangaratta can now have confidence that in an emergency they’ll get the life-saving care they need, when they need it.
“Here in Wangaratta we’re investing so we can continue to perform more surgeries and treat and admit more patients than ever before despite record demand on our health system.”
The Victorian Budget 2017/18 includes an additional $26.5 million to continue to improve response times and rebuild our ambulance service.
The funding in the Budget will build on our $500 million plan to improve ambulance response times – the biggest ever investment in ambulance services – which is employing 450 more paramedics, buying new vehicles and building new ambulance stations across the state.
Already, as a result of this investment, an additional 127 full-time equivalent, highly-skilled paramedics are now trained up and on the road, ready to respond to life-threatening emergencies and save lives.
And we are seeing improvements across our health system, with less patients waiting for surgery and the March quarter delivering the best ever emergency department performance since the ‘four hour target’ was introduced.
The latest data shows 74.4 per cent of patients were admitted or treated and sent home within four hours, a huge improvement from the record low of 61.7 per cent in 2011 when the Liberals/Nationals were slashing health funding.
For NorthEast Health Wangaratta, we are seeing positive results. The hospital:
- Admitted 1833 emergency patients in the 3 months to the end of March – up from 1758 emergency admissions a year earlier.
- Saw 6237 patients who presented to the emergency department in the 3 months to the end of March – up from 5859 presentations in the same quarter in 2016.
- Reduced the number of patients on the elective surgery waiting list – from 808 at the end of the March 2016 quarter to 703 at the end of this March.
- Treated an extra 96 patients from the elective surgery waiting list in the March quarter, compared with the waiting list admissions in the same period a year earlier.
Labor is also investing in Northeast Health Wangaratta, with Premier Daniel Andrews and Ms Symes recently announcing $15.2 million through the Labor Government’s new Regional Health Infrastructure Fund for a new 12-bed critical care unit built, increasing the capacity of the current unit by an extra four beds. The additional beds will support more patients in need of specialist intensive care and life support.
The project will also see the expansion of the emergency department and the relocation of the oncology unit, alongside other works including the construction of a new medical records building.