‘There is no Ambulance for you’

Sydney ambulances are “beyond crisis point.” That’s according to Brett Adie, Secretary of Victoria’s Ambulance Employees union, as reported by Rick Morton.

Adie’s comments came in response to data showing the average response time for priority 1 ambulance calls in metropolitan Sydney is 59 minutes. Yes, that’s priority 1 calls.

What paramedics call “status 3,” absolute crisis point that previously been a once-in-a-decade event, has been hit multiple times in the past month. The most recent “status 3” was on Friday night.

On that night, there were over 60 priority-one calls sitting in the queue completely unresponded to. “That is what status three means,” said a delegate for the NSW branch of the Australian Paramedics Association.

“Effectively, it means that there is no ambulance for you.” Less than 5 percent of calls are responded to in that situation.

For the past fortnight, the status for ambulances across all of metropolitan Sydney has not dropped below “status 2.” According to one paramedic, “It basically means less than 10 percent of the calls will get responded to.”

Paramedics are denouncing having to wait hours outside hospitals to off-load patients. One night, Concord Hospital in Sydney’s north-west had a queue of 13 ambulances.

Ambulances are also being used to transport patients across Greater Sydney. This includes hours-long round-trips taking patients from Western Sydney to regional hospitals.

This is occurring even with the frightening “Hospital at Home” initiative taking demand away from the healthcare system. “Hospital at Home” means that patients seriously ill with Covid are being told to stay at home.

The initial concept required patients to be given oxygen monitors, but in many instances this has not happened. One man reported being told to stay at home, even after a positive Covid test and coughing up blood, until he was so ill he couldn’t speak and could barely breathe.

What is most infuriating about this collapse in basic healthcare standards is that the circumstances were foreseeable. Our governments had 14 months and the experience of the rest of the world to learn from. They appear to have ignored it.

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