Substandard GPS units in NSW ambulances have forced paramedics to use Google maps on their phones, as vital time is lost in emergencies.
Albury paramedic and Australian Paramedic Association’s James Kydd said staff had raised the issue numerous times.
“It could mean disaster for the public,” he said. “Google is reliable but when you get out to outlying parts of Albury and regional areas, it’s problematic.
“Sometimes you’re navigating to a property that isn’t even on Google maps, even though it’s inherently more accurate than what was supplied in ambulances.”
Mr Kydd said personal phones should not be the main tool used as paramedics rush to emergencies.
“If for whatever reason you can’t use your phone, if there’s no reception or if your phone fails – you have no fall back,” he said. “Your phone should be the fallback, not the other way around.”
Mr Kydd said following a government enquiry every ambulance received a GPS unit, but their inaccuracy cost vital minutes.
“It would drop job details onto your screen, you’d hit the ‘route to incident’ button, it would take you to the address,” he said. “Except numerous times it would take crews to the wrong address and in an emergency situation that’s completely untenable.”
Mr Kydd said it wasn’t the first time paramedics had been issued with substandard GPS devices.
He said in 2010 they received personal issued GPS Navmans that were “so bad” they sat in bags and other GPS for cars were so un-intuitive paramedics used their phones. But NSW Ambulance refuted the accusation.
“Every emergency ambulance within the NSW Ambulance fleet has either integrated GPS or has a stand-alone GPS service,” a spokesperson said.
Across the Border, Ambulance Victoria released its response times on Monday.
Indigo Shire’s percentage of code-one responses in 15 minutes or less decreased from 26 in the year ending June 2016 to 21.6 in 2017.
Alpine Shire’s response time improved from 23:09 to 21:14 in 2017, responding to 47.9 per cent of code-one incidents in 15 minutes in 2017. About 72.5 per cent of code-one incidents in Wangaratta Shire were responded to in 15 minutes, up from 75.6 in 2016.
Wodonga’s code-one response time decreased from 11:47 to 11:11 minutes.