ROSTERS done in Melbourne with little or no local input are being blamed for the situation that left Wodonga with one ambulance manned by a paramedic and volunteer offsider on Saturday night.
Yesterday opposition parliamentary secretary for health Wade Noonan and local ambos said holes in rosters were being discovered only days before they happened — often too late to find replacements.
Ambulance Victoria Hume regional manager Garry Cook admitted improvements could be made but denied rosters played a role on Saturday night.
He said three paramedics phoned in ill for their shifts that afternoon.
But Mr Noonan said rostering was a statewide issue.
“It is pretty clear that what we are seeing is related to the centralisation of rosters,” he said.
“In February what used to be done locally was taken back to Melbourne.
“Planning that was happening a week or two in advance is now happening a day or two in advance.
“Some of these are the result of people taking annual leave and the rostering simply not recognising that there are not enough staff.
“I will be calling on Ambulance Victoria and the Health Minister to urgently review the situation.”
But Mr Cook said rosters were done a month in advance.
“Look, it’s not perfect, it’s new and we are working hard at ensuring that the local level of input is rebuilt,” he said.
“Those rosters have to be prepared 28 days in advance but people are human — you can end up with an officer on WorkCover, another pregnant or simply a case of short-term sickness.”
But Wodonga-based paramedics yesterday backed Mr Noonan’s claims.
“Local management have no say in how rostering is managed,” one said on The Border Mail website.
“These problems have been occurring repeatedly since the metropolitan rostering department took over in February.
“It is the rostering managers in Melbourne who need to account for the problems we face locally.”