THE geography of Indigo Shire is a hurdle to improving emergency response times in the area, Ambulance Victoria’s North East boss says.
Hume regional director Matt Chadban was responding to data which shows in the last three months of 2018 Indigo Shire had the worst ambulance response time in the state for Code 1 cases.
“Indigo is a large geographic area with a relatively low number of Code 1 call outs, which presents a challenge when it comes to improving response time performance,” Mr Chadban said.
“We note that in this reporting quarter our improved overall Code 1 performance improvement across the state was not reflected in Indigo Shire.”
Indigo mayor Bernard Gaffney said councillors will request a meeting with Ambulance Victoria bosses to seek answers about the shire’s situation.
“The general feedback from the community is that we deserve better,” he said.
“I haven’t had any phone calls saying ‘there’s no problem’.”
Cr Gaffney will also meet member for Benambra Bill Tilley this week at Rutherglen to discuss the issue and seek his assistance.
Mr Tilley said he wanted to establish how waiting times varied across the shire which extends from Kiewa to Wahgunyah.
“I’d love to kick the government in the guts over this but let’s get the facts right,” he said.
“I’m seeking further information on what factors influence the time delays, whether there are some parts of Indigo Shire performing better than others.
“I know there have been some bones pointed at Rutherglen, which is serviced by a cross-border agreement with NSW, but I understand that these figures do not fully represent the ambulance call outs in that part of Indigo Shire.”
Ambulance Victoria recently began a Community Emergency Response Team at Yackandandah and upgraded Chiltern’s service from that status to an Ambulance Community Officer team.
“Having a response unit in Yackandandah will make a huge difference to the response time overall, but we’ve got to look at areas like Kiewa-Tangambalanga that rely on ambulance services coming from Wodonga and/or ambulance services coming from Tallangatta,” Cr Gaffney said.
“It’s the fastest growing area in Indigo Shire with an increase of 40 pupils at the primary school and subdivision of over 400 blocks.”
Mr Chadban said senior Ambulance Victoria operations managers “will always be available to discuss issues of importance to the community”.
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