Ballarat paramedics seek more ambulance units, dispatch system overhaul

BALLARAT paramedics have called for a complete overhaul of the ambulance dispatch system to help ease their demanding workload.

Paramedic Sarah Brennan provides free CPR lessons at Central Square.

Paramedic Sarah Brennan provides free CPR lessons at Central Square.

They also believe an increase in the number of ambulances was crucial for future services.

Ballarat paramedic Sarah Brennan, who was part of a group of Ambulance Victoria employees providing free CPR lessons at Central Square on Wednesday, believed paramedics’ workload had greatly increased over the past decade.

“We can’t keep up with the workload at the moment, particularly with the way we are dispatched,” Ms Brennan said. 

“More often than not someone will get sent an ambulance, even if they don’t need one.”

Ms Brennan said one in four ambulances did not reach the patient within 15 minutes and that meant it was vital members of the community knew how to conduct CPR.

“A lot of people say they already know CPR through work, which is great,” she said.

“People are interested ... more people have approached us than we expected.”

Ms Brennan said she hoped the ongoing paramedic pay dispute could be over before the November state election. 

Ballarat MP Sharon Knight attended the lesson Wednesday morning and said, if elected, Labor would “end Denis Napthine’s war on paramedics”. 

“A Labor government will formally recognise the value of our paramedics and seek to have the current dispute resolved in the Fair Work Commission,” she said. 

Liberal candidate for Wendouree Craig Coltman said he understood a new offer was about to be put to the ambulance union.

“I fully respect the job paramedics do, they do a wond-

erful job in, at times, very difficult situations,” he said. “I would hope the ambulance union would look on it favourably.”

Mr Coltman said he believed the offer that would be put to paramedics was quite “generous” and he hoped the ongoing EBA dispute could be ended shortly.

matthew.dixon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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