New Norfolk ambulance was an hour away

State Labor leader Rebecca White at the Bridgewater
Ambulance Station yesterday.

STATE Labor leader Rebecca White says the Derwent Valley was left without ambulance coverage last weekend due to under-funding and the ongoing problem of “ramping” at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

On the same day that the State Government announced its plan to recruit additional paramedics to work at Dodges Ferry, Bicheno, Deloraine and St Helens, there was reportedly no local ambulance coverage in the Derwent Valley, Brighton and Southern Midlands municipalities.

“According to paramedics on Saturday night the Bridgewater Ambulance Station was closed,” Ms White said yesterday. “Because of the Liberals’ complete failure to fix ambulance ramping at hospitals and failure to appropriately fund Ambulance Tasmania, the New Norfolk crew was working as far south as Margate while the Glenorchy crew was in Tunbridge.

“This meant the Derwent Valley and Southern Midlands area, as well as Bridgewater and Gagebrook were left without local ambulance coverage. If there was a car crash on the southern end of the Midland Hwy, there would have been no local ambulance response capacity on Saturday night.”

Ms White said ambulances were spending too much time either stuck on hospital ramps because there aren’t enough beds or driving hundreds of kilometres to cover other parts of Tasmania. “Paramedics are desperately pleading with the Government for help but Will Hodgman just isn’t responding. Tasmanians deserve much better than this.  Will Hodgman needs to get serious about fixing the ambulance crisis.”

Prosser MLC Jane Howlett said the State Government was committed to continuing to boost ambulance services. “That’s why we are recruiting 42 additional paramedics in rural and regional areas, to ensure we have coverage right across the state,” Ms Howlett said.

“This will help improve responsiveness, reduce fatigue and support our volunteers. We know our hospital staff, paramedics and ambulance officers are dealing with increased demand, which is why the Hodgman Liberal Government is investing record amounts and continuing to recruit additional frontline staff. We are incredibly grateful for the work our dedicated paramedics and volunteer ambulance officers do every day,” she said.

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