At 1.00 p.m. on Saturday, 9 March, an elderly woman in Colac had a fall, and an ambulance was called. At around the same time the ambulance service in Colac received a call for paramedics to attend a person who had collapsed and was not alert. This call was attended by an off-duty crew from Colac. Colac paramedics were transferring a patient from Colac to Geelong, which left the Camperdown crew to take the job involving the elderly woman in Colac. Initially the elderly woman was conscious and breathing, and her only known injury was a bruised hand. However, a short time later the case was upgraded to what is termed ‘lights and sirens’ as information came from the scene that the situation was much more serious.
With Camperdown being around 45 kilometres away and because the ambulance service was initially working on the basis that the incident was not life threatening, the ambulance did not arrive at the elderly woman’s house until an hour after being called. Tragically the hour-long wait meant that upon arrival attempts by ambulance personnel to revive the woman were unsuccessful. This has caused enormous grief, pain and suffering to the family involved, and I pass on my deepest sympathy.
I raise this issue today because ambulance services in our state have declined dramatically under the Napthine government due to severe cuts in health funding over the last three years. Victoria deserves better, Colac certainly deserves better and Western Victoria Region deserves better.