The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has condemned the State Government for ignoring its own report that recommends new ambulance stations and additional crews to improve response times.
``Tasmania has one of the worst capital city response times in the country,’’ Mr Wilkie said. ``But instead of acting, the State Government has sat on a report that recommends a solution to this health problem for two years and the Tasmanian community is paying the price in slower ambulance response times.
``Calling an ambulance can be a life and death situation and Tasmanians should not have to worry whether help is going to show up in time.’’
Ambulance Tasmania commissioned consultants Operational Research in Health Limited to produce the Service Development Planning State-Wide Emergency and Medical Services Final Report that is dated December 2010.
The report says ``the first priority is to raise emergency response standards in Hobart and Launceston by 2011/12. In Hobart this will require three new deployment locations around the existing Hobart, Glenorchy and Mornington stations, and in Launceston two additional locations.’’
The report goes on to say ``there is an associated requirement for an increase in ambulance deployments, totalling a further 222 deployed ambulance hours per week in Hobart and 182 hours in Launceston.’’
Mr Wilkie said in other words the Government’s own expert consultants told it two years ago to build new stations and to put at least another ambulance on the road in the greater Hobart area.
``But here we are, two years down the track, and nothing substantial has changed,’’ he said.
``And don’t be fooled by the Government rhetoric on this matter. Yes there has been some tinkering around the edges with Ambulance Tasmania. But tinkering is all it’s been and the consultants’ identified ‘first priority’ remains unaddressed.
``None of this is to criticise the fine crews who are on the road saving lives every day. They’re doing a marvellous job but there are limits to what they can achieve and this government is pushing them to breaking point.’’
*The Service Development Planning State-Wide Emergency and Medical Services Final Report is available on request.