The NSW Ambulance Service has responded to criticisms of its operations in the Northern Rivers, stating that paramedics continue to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies.
Last week, The Echo reported that the Mullumbimby ambulance station remained closed, owing to damage sustained in the floods five months ago.
Local paramedics were concerned that the management of this situation was compromising care.
Local Greens MP Tamara Smith told The Echo that ambulance services in the region were being compromised by the fact that highly-trained ambos were being used for patient transfers.
This was taking them away from the vital work of saving lives in emergency situations.
‘We’ve already got so few ambos in the community… but they are then out of action for at least three hours, because they have to stay with the patient in emergency, and can’t leave until they’ve transitioned their patients into care’.
Ms Smith also said that paramedics were having to attend non-life-threatening situations such as acute mental health incidents because there wasn’t anyone else to help in those situations.
No timeframe on repairs
While the Ambulance Service is yet to provide a timeframe for the commencement of repair works on the Mullumbimby station, it denied that its services had been compromised, stating that it was continuing to provide a high level of care.
‘The median response time for priority 1A cases in the Richmond Valley continues to be within the state’s 10-minute benchmark,’ a spokesperson said in a written statement.
‘NSW Ambulance is a dynamic workforce and will always send the closest available resource to emergencies,’ the spokesperson said.
‘We have a world-leading triage system, which helps call takers and dispatchers prioritise the sickest patients to ensure potentially life-threatening medical emergencies are treated first’.