BY ISABEL EVERETT
The Australian Paramedics Association has raised the alarm Newcastle is being left with inadequate ambulance coverage, after the cities largest station was left with just one crew on Wednesday night.
The station would normally run at least three cars on a night shift, with staff advising the AMA cars were moved from Hamilton, to Kurri Kurri and Raymond Terrace for shift coverage due to shortages at those stations.
“Our members are telling us that this is now a very regular occurrence which poses a risk to community safety. Fewer ambulances means much longer response times and puts patients’ lives at risk,” said APA (NSW) Committee member and local Paramedic Brendan McIlveen.
“This seems to be ongoing with no end in sight, and is concerning forthe local community of Newcastle who deserve access to Ambulances when they need it.” said APA (NSW) President Chris Kastelan.
An SMS reportedly went out all paramedics in the Hunter area on Wednesday stating there were shifts to be filled.
The AMA says this did not happen until 3pm with shifts to start at 7pm and due to the lack of the staff in the area and poor planning, shifts were unable to be filled in time.
The AMA is calling for Ambulance NSW to to urgently reassess its paramedic crewing levels in the Hunter.
“To ensure the local community can have faith that when they call ‘000’, a paramedic crew will be dispatched and be at their front door quickly.” Said Mr McIlveen.
“More resources are needed in the Hunter area to ensure that service delivery to the community can be met even during peak periods.” Said Mr McIlveen