Geelong call-out leaves Ballarat short one ambulance

A BALLARAT paramedic has called for more ambulances in Ballarat, after a Sebastopol night crew attending a serious incident in Geelong left Ballarat short of resources on Friday night. 

Advanced life support paramedic Adam Phillips said the call-out left Ballarat with minimal ambulance resources for three and a half hours between 11pm on Friday night and 2.30am on Saturday morning. 

Mr Phillips said the Sebastopol crew was called to a code one incident in Geelong, because at the time it was the closest available car to the incident.

But before the Sebastopol crew arrived in Geelong, a closer ambulance had attended that job. 

“When they came back to Ballarat at 2.30am they had not seen any patients in Geelong,” Mr Phillips said. 

Mr Phillips said removing one of the city’s limited ambulance resources could result in lengthy delays to jobs in Ballarat. 

“A Ballarat ambulance should not have to responded to an emergency in Geelong,” Mr Phillips said. 

“Ballarat being the closest car to Geelong highlights there is not enough resources in the state.” 

Ambulance Employees Australia state secretary Steve McGhie said as a result of the Geelong call-out, Ballarat lost one of its five ambulances

serving the area on Friday night.

“You’re almost robbing Peter to pay Paul by dragging resources out of Ballarat, while other incidents occurred in Ballarat on that night,” Mr McGhie said. 

Mr McGhie said there needed to be an overhaul of the statewide dispatch and call taking system, where a line of questioning by call-takers resulted in an ambulance being dispatched for jobs that may not require a code one ambulance response. 

“The type of program that they have in regard to the line of questioning needs to be reviewed and refined in a way that many of those cases will not get an ambulance,” Mr McGhie said. 

Mr Phillips agreed a change was needed. 

“From my experience and discussions with colleagues, numerous jobs are dispatched as light and sirens jobs that do not warrant a code one response or in some cases ambulance attendance at all,” Mr Phillips said. 

Ambulance Victoria could not provide comment before deadline.

kara.irving@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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