LACK of staff forced the temporary closure of the New Norfolk Ambulance Station last night, Legislative Councillor Craig Farrell revealed earlier today. “The ambulance station was closed from 6pm last night to 8am this morning because no crew was available,” Mr Farrell said.
Mr Farrell, who is up for re-election to the seat of Derwent on May 1, said he had been shocked to learn that a lack of staff had forced the closure of the local ambulance station overnight. “This meant all of the Derwent Valley was left without rapid response ambulance coverage for emergency situations from their local station which simply is not good enough” Mr Farrell said.
Mr Farrell (pictured above at the ambulance station) said the Liberal State Government was showing “complete disregard for residents of the Derwent Valley” by failing to address ongoing concerns about ambulance coverage. “This has been an ongoing issue for some time and the government doesn’t seem interested in fixing it,” he said.
“Despite endless promises, the government is failing to recruit enough staff to meet increasing demand and people living in country areas are suffering for longer, with increased response times compared to those living in urban areas. Peter Gutwein and Sarah Courtney’s inaction is putting people’s lives at risk and I am calling on them to show some respect for the people of the Derwent Valley and address this serious situation before it is too late.”
At Thursday night’s Derwent Valley Council meeting, mayor and Liberal Party candidate Ben Shaw fielded questions from Cr Paul Belcher about whether his party’s policies were consisted with the needs of local ratepayers. Cr Shaw said he “absolutely” had the ratepayers’ best interest at heart.
Health Minister Sarah Courtney today said Tasmanians all over the state could be assured that assistance from Ambulance Tasmania would be provided if needed. “The New Norfolk station was temporarily offline overnight due to unexpected sick leave, with coverage supported by neighbouring areas.
“This is nothing more than scaremongering from Mr Farrell, who obviously feels pressure given the strong challenge from Ben Shaw in the upcoming legislative council election,” Ms Courtney said.