My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Health. It relates to a lack of coverage by ambulance services in Geelong. On Friday, 14 March, Geelong did not have ambulance coverage, and this necessitated an ambulance being driven down from Sebastopol, near Ballarat, an hour away. On the following Sunday from 9.00 p.m. onwards we also had a situation where Geelong did not have ambulance coverage. On that occasion an ambulance that services the Lorne area had to be sent up to Geelong.
Mr Steve McGhie, state secretary of the Ambulance Employees Association, was quoted in the Geelong Advertiser of 18 March as saying:
- It’s just not good enough and this is a regular occurrence in Geelong.
- If something’s not done sooner rather than later people will die, and I’m not being an alarmist, that is just the fact.
Journalist Mandy Squires explained in the article that on that Sunday night, when there was no ambulance cover for Geelong, a young girl from Barwon Heads had a suspected dislocated vertebra. A general practitioner had called for an ambulance to attend to the young girl at 7.30 p.m. However, it did not arrive until 10.30 p.m. The article goes on to say:
- … Danny Hill from the Ambulance Employees Association told ABC radio Geelong had become one of the flashpoints of the state’s ambulance crisis.
He went on to say that there had been:
- … an extra 229 hours per month of crews ramped up at the Geelong Hospital —
meaning that there are times when there are literally no crews to service the area and respond to even the most serious cases. A recent Geelong Advertiser editorial says:
- It is very clear that the ambulance service in Geelong is not good enough.
The editorial goes on to say:
- What is the state government waiting for before committing to fixing this problem?
These sentiments are shared right across the community by many constituents, and it is a topic that is raised on a continuing basis. Therefore, I ask the minister to address the situation and provide the necessary resources, whether that be personnel, vehicles or other equipment, to make sure the ambulance crisis in Geelong comes to an end.