WODONGA residents are not being hit by poor ambulance response times as claimed by the Victorian opposition, a senior Ambulance Victoria manager says.
Opposition health spokesman Wade Noonan said last week that Wodonga had to put up with an average response time of 21 to 22 minutes.
But Ambulance Victoria Hume region manager Gary Cook said Mr Noonan’s comments made it look like Wodonga was receiving substandard response times.
He said the 21-minute average response time was for all cases the Wodonga team attended, including places such as Yackandandah, Allans Flat, Barnawartha and Chiltern.
Mr Cook said it did not matter how fast someone drove an ambulance from Wodonga to Kiewa or Tangambalanga, “it’s still going to take you 20 minutes to get there”.
“In our urban population centres we, like Melbourne, work to 15 minutes,” he said.
“In Wodonga we regularly exceed that performance and clearly, sometimes we don’t.”
The goal is to get to a Wodonga patient within 15 minutes in about 90 per cent of cases.
Mr Cook said a key reason for meeting the 15 minutes response times for Wodonga was the running of two day shifts and two night shifts.
“With no doubt the team at Wodonga is busy,” he said.
“I don’t refute that in any way, shape or form.
“We have an outstanding team of paramedics and they deliver the best service they can and that’s a key contributor to the success.”
Mr Cook said Mr Noonan’s comment that extra paramedics might improve response times was misleading.
“If you’ve got three jobs at midnight and you’ve got only two cars then the third job is going to have a delay,” he said.
“There’s not necessary a guarantee that additional resourcing will necessarily equate to a change in the response times because of the speed of the workload.”
Mr Cook said there was a clear correlation between people being up and about and ambulances being called — that was usually the period from 6am to 10pm.
The peak was usually the middle of the day.