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  • Vic ambulance dispatches slip below target

    Author: AAP

Dispatch times for Victorian ambulances have slipped below target and are worse than the previous year, a report reveals.

Victorian ambulances aren't being dispatched to emergencies as quickly as they should be, a report from the state's triple-zero service reveals.

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The Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) annual report reveals high-priority ambulance dispatch has slipped and is not meeting performance benchmarks.

About 77 per cent of code one ambulance calls were dispatched within 150 seconds in 2013/14, though the target is 90 per cent.

It is down from the previous year's result of about 83 per cent.


Ambulance Victoria chief executive Greg Sassella says Victoria is one of the only states which measures call answer and dispatch speed in the response, enabling them to track patients from the minute they dial.

"Sometimes that feels like a burden because we can report on every part of the system," he told reporters on Thursday.

"We do that because we want to understand the impact of what's happening to the patient from the minute they make a phone call.

"We're talking seconds here, we're not talking minutes."

The ESTA report, tabled in parliament on Thursday, says an improvement group has identified a range of initiatives to address the issue and is working through them as a priority.

Health Minister David Davis said the state's ambulance service was one of the best in the world and its primary focus was clinical outcomes for patients.

But shadow emergency services spokesman Wade Noonan said it had "lurched from one problem to the next" under the current government.

"Under the Liberals, our loved ones are waiting longer for an ambulance than ever before," he said.

ESTA handled a record number of triple-zero calls for a single day, taking 7371 calls on February 9 as Victoria faced its worst bushfire conditions since Black Saturday in 2009. That compared to 6974 calls on Black Saturday.

The report shows ESTA failed to reach dispatch targets for high-priority Victorian State Emergency Service and Country Fire Authority events, but met the Metropolitan Fire Brigade performance standard for 11 out of 12 months.

Almost 10,000 extra SES calls were answered in 2013/14 than the previous year, an increase of more than 50 per cent.

Copyright AAP 2014


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