INDIGO Shire has the worst response time for urgent ambulance call outs in Victoria.
The latest Ambulance Victoria data showed there was only a 27 per cent chance of its crews reaching a Code 1 case in the council area in less than 15 minutes.
By comparison, Wodonga patients are attended in less than 15 minutes 88.5 per cent of the time.
Other North East council figures are: 73.3 per cent (Wangaratta); 66.7 (Benalla); 60.3 (Moira); 53.9 (Alpine); and 44.4 (Towong).
Indigo mayor Bernard Gaffney has vowed to take up the issue with councillors and lobby for improvements, given the shire’s aged population.
He believes no ambulance station at Rutherglen, the shire’s second biggest town, hurts waiting times.
“The community at Rutherglen need an ambulance service or at the very least a response team, what they’ve got there now is not good enough – we deserve better,” Cr Gaffney said.
“I’ll be raising it with council to see how we proceed.”
Ambulance Victoria Hume regional director Matt Chadban said that overall there had been an improvement in response times in Victoria.
However, he conceded that had not occurred in Indigo Shire.
“We have seen improved performance in response times across the state in recent years, including in North East Victoria,” Mr Chadban said.
“In the last three months of 2018, paramedics reached 83.9 per cent of Code 1 patients within the critical target of 15 minutes – an improvement of 2.5 percentage points on the same period a year earlier.
“Improving response performance in large geographic areas with a relatively low number of Code 1 call outs presents a challenge, and we note that in this reporting quarter our improved Code 1 performance was not reflected in Indigo Shire.”
The shire has an ambulance station at Beechworth and volunteer community emergency response teams at Chiltern and Yackandandah which respond to triple-0 calls.
Cr Gaffney said the Yackandandah team only started in January and had already attended a number of jobs.
In 2009, then Victorian MP Ken Jasper called for Rutherglen to have a similar ambulance service to Chiltern’s.
The latest data covers October to December last year, with Indigo Shire recording a 28.8 per cent response rate to Code 1 cases for the same period in 2017.
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The latest data has both of those shires more than double where they were five years ago and ahead of Indigo with 39.5 per cent for Golden Plains and 34.4 per cent for Hepburn.
A Code 1 call involves a lights and sirens response to an injury which needs urgent paramedic and hospital care.
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