Labor ramping Latrobe Valley’s Ambulance services

Latrobe Valley residents are now facing longer wait times for ambulances despite being promised ‘faster care when they need it’ by the Andrews Labor Government’s in 2018.

Code 1 Ambulance response times for the Latrobe Valley are at 77.2%, well below Ambulance Victoria’s 90% KPI for towns with a population greater than 7500.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said despite the dedicated efforts of our hardworking paramedics, longer ambulance response times in Latrobe Valley are compromising health outcomes.

“Despite having fewer call outs for life threatening incidents state wide over the past year, ambulance response times have increased by 3.3 minutes”, said Ms Bath.

“Under resourcing, ambulance ramping and a failure to deliver promised ambulance stations in Latrobe Valley have contributed to the longest patient wait times in five years.”

Ms Bath said only last week she had listened to a distressed constituent who had waited alongside her critically ill elderly parent for over three hours while the ambulance was forced to ‘ramp’.

“Ramping takes our ambulances off the roads by preventing paramedics from handing over patients to the hospital.  It’s also a sign our hospital’s emergency department is not coping with patient demand.

“Latrobe Valley’s emergency medical response is failing under Labor.”

New ambulance stations budgeted for Morwell (2015/2016) and Moe/Newborough (2016/2017) have not been delivered by Daniel Andrews.

Signs were erected in 2018 on the Narracan Drive site in Moe/Newborough and English Street, Morwell stating both stations would be operational in 2019, but had since been mysteriously removed.  At the time the then Ambulance Services Minister said, ‘planning and design works were underway’.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South and Shadow Assistant Minister for Ambulance Services Danny O’Brien said the Andrews Government is more focused on spin than keeping election commitments.

“Blaming the coronavirus is no defense – ambulance infrastructure upgrades were promised in Latrobe Valley well before this COVID-19 pandemic hit,” said Mr O’Brien.

“Labor has been in government in Victoria 17 out of the past 21 years – it has had ample time to ensure our paramedics and health services are properly resourced.

“Our paramedics are being forced to work within an outdated and antiquated system.”

Ms Bath said with the state budget due to be handed down, it was difficult to envisage if or when projects will materialise in Latrobe Valley.

“Labor simply cannot be trusted to keep its commitments – it has plunged Victoria into massive debt with its billion dollar infrastructure blowouts, effectively shelving Latrobe Valley ambulance stations.

“There is a growing list of broken promises, undelivered and unfunded projects across Latrobe Valley for which the Andrews Government must be held to account.

“Labor must honour its commitment for faster care and stop putting the health of our community at risk”.