Crews stuck over lack of beds

A PARAMEDIC crew called in from Wangaratta yesterday ended up getting stuck in the hospital emergency department queue on the Border.

That led to a two-hour wait for the officers, who were in the area to free-up Wodonga crews.

Health worker Peter (not his real name) contacted The Border Mail out of concern at the consistent long delays ambulance crews were facing at the Albury and Wodonga hospitals.

Peter said the problem was not with the hospital staff, as they were “absolutely flat out” dealing with emergency department patients.

“The whole thing is just snowballing to the effect that paramedics spent over the weekend and today anywhere between 1½ and 2½ hours with patients on their stretchers,” he said.

“It’s the ramping issue that’s common in Melbourne and less common here, but it’s just starting to happen a lot more often now.”

One case yesterday involved a woman in severe respiratory distress who had to stay on a stretcher for 1½ hours.

Peter said the issue happened on a regular basis in Albury, with incidents “almost daily” and that until a patient was admitted the paramedics were “stuck there”.

“Even nightshift crews are still there at 9 o’clock in the morning when they should have gone home at 7am because they haven’t been unable to unload,” he said.

“Of course then the trouble is their vehicle is tied up at the hospital so the oncoming day shift crew might not even have a vehicle.”

Three ambulances were ramped at Wodonga hospital at one point yesterday.

“Wodonga’s got to the stage now where we’re almost going to have to take patients to Wangaratta because there are no beds in Albury-Wodonga,” Peter said.

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