Indigo Shire Mayor calls for urgent action on ambulance response times

Published on 31 May 2019

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Indigo Shire Mayor Bernard Gaffney is calling for urgent action after the 2019 Victorian Budget failed to address poor ambulance response times in Indigo Shire.

Indigo Shire has the worst response times for code one incidents in the State. In the third quarter of 2018/19, only 24.5 per cent of code one incidents in Indigo Shire were responded to in under 15 minutes.
This is alarmingly lower than the State average of 84.2 per cent.

The average response time for code one incidents in Indigo Shire was 22:11 minutes. This compared to Wangaratta with an average response time of 11:44 minutes and Wodonga with an average response time of 10:24 minutes for code one incidents.

“Our paramedics do a fantastic job and we appreciate the lifesaving work that they do, however the fact remains that Indigo Shire is under-resourced with only one ambulance station,” Councillor Gaffney said.

“With a growing population, something’s got to give, and we will continue to do everything we can to advocate for Indigo Shire to get better emergency care.

“We are calling on the State Government to put in more resources – whether in the form of a new station or more paramedics – to service Indigo Shire residents to improve response times for critically ill people.”

Cr Gaffney has met with Ambulance Victoria representatives and has written to the Minister for Emergency Services expressing his concerns.

“The Minister reasons that the slow response is because we live in a rural and remote area,” he said.

“We are very grateful that the member for Northern Victoria Tania Maxwell MP raised this issue in Parliament with the Minister this week. We look forward to the Minister’s response to our local member.”

Ms Maxwell said quick response times have a direct effect on patient outcomes.

“It’s imperative we see improvement in the number of cases that meet the benchmark,” Ms Maxwell said. “We all appreciate the challenges of topography and geography in country areas, however this just adds to the call for additional attention to the needs of the region.”

Cr Gaffney reiterated his commitment to advocating for action on this issue.

“I have requested a meeting with the Minister to discuss the government’s response,” he said.

“In the interim, I want to stress to Indigo Shire residents the importance of calling 000 in the event of an emergency."