Confidential minutes reveal Victorian ambulance crisis causing life-threatening delays

A leak of sensitive minutes from the Victorian Ambulance Service showed that emergency callers faced potentially life-threatening delays after a red code crisis hit the system last month with no vehicles for many illnesses.

The state’s emergency telephone service experienced a three-minute call delay at 00:30 on the night of June 28, when the deadline for responding to critical cases is only five seconds on average. Australian shown.

Delays left Melbourne without ambulances during a critical mid-week demand period of around four hours as the Victorian government grappled with a crisis that has left at least 12 people dead while waiting for an ambulance since October.

The Victorian Emergency Telecommunications Authority (ESTA), responsible for responding to emergency calls and dispatching ambulances, has faced harsh criticism from the government, which has promised to overhaul the organization as the November elections approach.

Minutes showed that Ambulance Victoria conducted crisis talks in the early hours of June 28 after a 30-minute code red period with “multiple” instances of code 1 – or lights and sirens – emergencies with “0 percent park availability.” .

Victoria Ambulance Emergency Services Director Justin Dunlop said he did not believe anyone died during the code red crisis and issues were resolved quickly and in an orderly manner.

He added that 21 ambulances were on duty for lunch breaks, but critical situations such as cardiac arrest could be handled.

An ESTA spokesperson said any delay is unacceptable and the agency is hard at work recruiting and training more operators to ensure that triple 0 callers get the help they need when they need it.

Victorian Ambulance Union general secretary Danny Hill said the system was heavily stocked with new paramedics but said demand for ambulances was “crushing”.

The beleaguered Victorian Ambulance Service also put in place anti-crisis protocols on July 10 due to the winter wave of Covid-19 and staff shortages. stretching resources to the limit.

Ambulance Victoria sounded its second ‘code red’ in two weeks early Sunday morning due to emergency demand in Melbourne.

The crisis protocol was in place for 90 minutes from about 2 a.m. after a surge in calls around midnight.

It was the seventh time in many months that the service had been forced to declare a red code, and it came after a shortage of staff forced similar measures almost two weeks ago.

On July 10, Victoria Ambulance Operations Communications Executive Lindsey McKay acknowledged on Sunday that the situation is expected to remain challenging.

She said that while not in a “dangerous situation,” the service had to deal with the absence of at least 170 employees each day in the past week.

Originally published as Confidential Minutes Reveal Victorian Ambulance Crisis