AN elderly man has died after Maryborough was left without ambulance coverage yet again last Friday.
John Jarratt, 73, had a heart attack and died after it took three off-duty paramedics 30 minutes to reach him.
Ambulance Employees Australia secretary Steve McGhie said a lack of ambulance services had been a factor in other recent deaths in Maryborough.
“This is another example of Maryborough being left uncovered,” Mr McGhie said. “We don’t know for sure but he may have been able to be revived if an ambulance had got to him earlier.”
Great-grandfather Dick Gouge died of a heart attack after waiting 38 minutes for an ambulance in May 2010, despite living just a block from the ambulance station.
Carl “Chooka” Lawrence, 24, also died after collapsing on the football field in April 2009, with an ambulance taking 20 minutes to reach him after the crew was eight-and-a-half hours into a nine-hour break.
Mr McGhie said the ambulance call centre received a message just before 6am Friday about a man suffering from shortness of breath and having a coughing fit.
He said the Maryborough crew was transporting a patient to Bendigo and the Avoca ambulance was in Ballarat.
A crew was sent from Castlemaine and a MICA ambulance was also sent from Ballarat. Three off-duty Maryborough paramedics were also called to the scene.
“But they had to go back to the branch and get equipment and it was 6.30am before they got there. He was already in cardiac arrest and they couldn’t revive him.”
Mr McGhie said Maryborough needed more ambulance resources, including a MICA single responder unit and more paramedics.
Ambulance Victoria regional manager Loddon Mallee Kevin Masci said Ambulance Victoria was reviewing its response.
“We have recently increased ambulance resources in Maryborough so that there are two permanent crews every day and a permanent crew every night and we will recall paramedics as required, as occurred in this case,” he said.