Press Releases

New site for Maffra ambulance station

* * - Friday, September 06, 2013

The new Maffra ambulance station will not be built on VicTrack land adjacent to the Gippsland Vehicle Collection Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan said after meeting with Gippsland Vehicle Collection members, Ambulance Victoria would not progress the VicTrack land as the location of the new Maffra ambulance station.

“Ambulance Victoria has resumed its site search and is reviewing a Wellington Shire-owned site at the rear of the existing Maffra ambulance station that was initially excluded due to site pollution issues,” Mr Ryan said.

“Wellington Shire Council will remediate the site and planning and design works for the new station will begin next month.”

Mr Ryan said the Maffra community could look forward to a new ambulance station by June 2014.

“Consultation between the two parties has resulted in the best outcome for members of the Gippsland Vehicle Collection and local paramedics,” Mr Ryan said.

Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said he was also pleased negotiations between Ambulance Victoria and Gippsland Vehicle Collection had resulted in a positive outcome for the community.

"The Gippsland Vehicle Collection is a wonderful community asset which benefits from a strong visual presence,” Mr Bull said.

"I thank Ambulance Victoria management for listening to community concerns and agreeing not to proceed with building in front of Gippsland Vehicle Collection museum.

“I look forward to the new Maffra ambulance facility proceeding at the alternate location.”

COALITION ANNOUNCES UPGRADED 24 HR CASTLEMAINE AMBULANCE STATION

Stephanie Ryan - Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Castlemaine ambulance station will be upgraded to deliver 24-hour local ambulance coverage under a Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government, Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan, who made the announcement in Castlemaine with Shadow Minister for Health David Davis, said the Coalition would commit up to $2 million for a refurbishment of Castlemaine ambulance station to ensure it had the capacity to provide 24-hour service to the community.

“All Victorians deserve a fully-equipped ambulance service that can respond to the needs of the community, but a lack of Brumby Government funding and resources has stretched the Castlemaine ambulance station to breaking point,” Mr Ryan said.

“For 18 months now, Castlemaine ambulance station has been trialling a 24 hour roster utilising paramedic trainees, with full time staff working excessively long hours to meet local needs.

“John Brumby has refused to provide clear direction on whether Castlemaine ambulance station will receive additional staff and be permanently upgraded to 24-hours.

“The Coalition’s $2 million capital commitment to upgrade Castlemaine ambulance station and extend it permanently to 24 hours with extra staff will ensure local families have peace of mind with ambulance services around the clock.”

Mr Ryan said Castlemaine had been neglected by the Brumby Government and abandoned by the Member for Bendigo West, Bob Cameron.

“Despite overwhelming community support for more ambulance services, Castlemaine has been ignored by Labor when further resources were desperately needed,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the population of the Castlemaine area was projected to grow significantly and more resources and better infrastructure were desperately required.

“The needs of the community can’t be ignored any longer. The Coalition will ensure the ambulance station will be staffed around the clock and rebuilt to a modern standard,” Mr Ryan said.

Shadow Minister for Health David Davis said that as the recently released report by the Auditor-General confirmed, after 11 years under Labor, ambulance services in Victoria were in chaos and suffering from under-resourcing and mismanagement, particularly in regional areas.

“John Brumby and Labor have failed to manage Ambulance Victoria, and have botched the merger of Rural Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Ambulance Service,” Mr Davis said.

“It is time for action to be taken and only a Coalition Government is committed to rebuilding Victoria’s ambulance service.”

Mr Davis said the Coalition would take action to address the current disastrous state of Victoria’s ambulance service and ensure regional areas, including Castlemaine, were properly resourced to receive the services they deserved.

“In July this year the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition vowed to take action to strengthen Ambulance Victoria, with the recruitment of 340 additional ambulance staff, including 43 paramedics and six patient transport officers for the Loddon Mallee region,” Mr Davis said.

“In addition to upgrading Castlemaine ambulance station, the Coalition will upgrade Maryborough ambulance station to 24 hours and build a $630 million world-class hospital for Bendigo.

“The Coalition’s planned upgrade of the Castlemaine ambulance station reinforces our commitment to regional health services,” Mr Davis said.

RURAL AMBULANCE RESPONSE TIMES DETERIORATE UNDER JOHN BRUMBY

Stephanie Ryan - Wednesday, October 06, 2010
An investigation by the Auditor-General has revealed ambulance emergency response times in regional and rural Victoria have blown out under John Brumby, Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.

“The A-G report Access to Ambulance Services, tabled in Parliament today, shows ambulance response times are the worst for five years, confirming ambulance services are in crisis due to a lack of resources and funding,” Mr Ryan said.

“Auditor-General Des Pearson found the amalgamation of metropolitan and regional services in 2006 was underfunded and that the merger failed to improve deteriorating response times.

“Over the past three years ambulance response times in regional Victoria have deteriorated at a greater rate than those in Melbourne, and now stand at an average four minutes longer than in the city.

“In towns with a population of less than 7,500, response times have declined since 2004–2005, with code one target response times being met less than 51 per cent of the time.

“In rural regions the average response time has increased from 13 minutes in 2004–05 to 15 minutes in 2009-10, while in Melbourne in that same period it has increased from 9 minutes to 10 minutes,” Mr Ryan said.

The A-G report also found:

  • in rural regions, growth in staff numbers has not matched increasing demand;
  • in the last six years, emergency response times have increased in all rural regions (Barwon South West, Gippsland, Grampians, Hume, Loddon Mallee);
  • in areas with minimal 24-hour or MICA branches, neighbouring areas sometimes had no ambulance cover; and
  • there is a clear link between declining response times and increased demand (from factors such as population growth, the ageing population).
Mr Ryan, who wrote to the Auditor-General on behalf of the Coalition asking him to investigate a series of regional ambulance bungles, said the government had been caught out not funding ambulance services properly.

“John Brumby has left it until just months before the state election to attempt to improve the plight of Ambulance Victoria, despite knowing for years that services were not funded properly,” Mr Ryan said.

AUDITOR-GENERAL TO PROBE BRUMBY’S AMBULANCE FAILURES

Stephanie Ryan - Thursday, July 08, 2010
The Auditor-General will report to Parliament before the state election on John Brumby’s string of regional ambulance failures after the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition asked him to investigate Labor’s ambulance crisis.

Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan, who asked the Auditor-General to investigate the administration and operation of Ambulance Victoria, said ambulance services in regional and rural Victoria had got worse under John Brumby.

The Auditor-General has confirmed he will investigate the statewide performance of Ambulance Victoria, paying particular attention to regional and rural ambulance services.

“Because of John Brumby’s incompetence, ambulance services in rural and regional Victoria have got worse, response times have blown out and lives have been lost or put at risk,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Auditor-General’s investigation will examine responsiveness, data, integrity of the data, and resource allocation and the report will be tabled on October 6, seven weeks before the election where John Brumby will be held to account for his numerous failings.”

Mr Ryan said Ambulance Victoria paramedics did a tremendous job but under John Brumby they were overworked and under-resourced.

“Every regional and rural Coalition MP has listened to many complaints from constituents and paramedics about the ambulance crisis which John Brumby has created,” Mr Ryan said.

“Labor has had 11 years and $350 billion in revenue, but did not act on ambulances until the Coalition led the way last week with our $151 million plan.”

Mr Ryan said the Labor Government promised Victorians 11 years ago it would lower ambulance response times to 10 minutes.

“Even after targets were revised down to 15 minutes, John Brumby could not meet his government’s own benchmark,” Mr Ryan said.

“The Brumby Government’s neglect and incompetence has caused a breakdown of basic health services and the Coalition welcomes this investigation by the Auditor-General into John Brumby’s ambulance failures.”

Read more stories from Peter on the Brumby Government's ambulance crisis.

COALITION ALLOCATES TEN ADDITIONAL MICA PARAMEDIC TEAMS FOR REGIONAL VICTORIA

Stephanie Ryan - Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition today announced if it wins the November election, it will allocate ten new MICA Single Responder Units in regional Victoria, Leader of the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Ted Baillieu said.

The Single Responder Units (SRUs) will deliver MICA care through a 24-hour roster, and will be based in major regional areas to provide life-saving specialist-trained paramedics, significantly boosting ambulatory care in regional Victoria.

“Victorians living in regional areas will now have highly-trained paramedics available in their communities to provide much needed care during an emergency,” Mr Baillieu said.

This announcement will provide ten SRU MICA paramedics across these regional centres at a total capital cost, including specialised fit-out and equipment, of approximately $1 million:

  • Warrnambool
  • Horsham
  • Mildura
  • Shepparton
  • Wangaratta
  • Wodonga
  • Sale
  • Bairnsdale
  • Wonthaggi
  • Swan Hill

Full time MICA paramedic response units are already located in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Morwell.

Mr Baillieu said this commitment follows Monday’s announcement of the biggest increase of ambulance staff in Victoria’s history. The Coalition’s plan provides for 310 new ambulance paramedics, 210 of which will be based in country Victoria, and an additional 30 patient transport officers allocated to country Victoria.

“John Brumby and his government have not planned for growth, and have failed to make the provisions required for stronger ambulance services that Victorians can rely on,” Mr Baillieu said.

“Regional Victoria has pleaded with John Brumby to take action and fix the crisis in our ambulance service, yet he has ignored this.

“The Coalition’s commitment providing these extra these life-saving SRUs will see highly-trained MICA paramedics operating in major regional centres throughout the state.

“Labor has had 11 years to fix the crisis in our ambulance service and for all those years, Victorians have heard nothing but excuses from this incompetent government.

“It’s time to take action and the Coalition will take it, because we are committed to rebuilding Victoria’s ambulance service,” Mr Baillieu said.

COALITION ANNOUNCES NEW WALLAN AMBULANCE STATION

Stephanie Ryan - Monday, June 28, 2010
The Victorian Liberal National Coalition announced today that if elected in November it will in its first term build a full 24 hour ambulance station at Wallan in Mitchell Shire, Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Leader Ted Baillieu said.

Mr Baillieu said this commitment follows today’s announcement of the biggest increase of ambulance staff in Victoria’s history. The Coalition plan will see 310 new ambulance paramedics with 210 based in country Victoria and an additional 30 patient transport officers allocated to country Victoria.

The Coalition plan will see an additional 40 paramedics located in the Hume DHS region and six of the new patient transport officers.

Wallan is a growing fast community which has been neglected by the Brumby Government.

The Coalition will allocate $2 million capital for the purchase of land and construction of a modern 24-hour ambulance station.

The Coalition will also fully staff the new ambulance station.

The new ambulance station will be built and operational by the end of the first term of a Baillieu Government. The site will be determined by Ambulance Victoria in conjunction with the local council and community.

“Not only will Wallan be better serviced and safer but the whole of Seymour and the Hume region will benefit by the Coalition’s commitment and support for regional Victoria,” Mr Baillieu said.

“Growth areas like Wallan have been neglected under the Brumby Government and Labor over the last 11 years.

“John Brumby promised to fix the health system in Victoria yet under his government hospital waiting lists, ambulance service and response times have only got worse from a shortage of resources.

“John Brumby and his government have not planned for growth and failed to make the provision required for stronger ambulance services in Wallan," Mr Baillieu said.

COALITION ANNOUNCES NEW WALLAN AMBULANCE STATION

Stephanie Ryan - Monday, June 28, 2010
The Victorian Liberal National Coalition announced today that if elected in November it will in its first term build a full 24 hour ambulance station at Wallan in Mitchell Shire, Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Leader Ted Baillieu said.

Mr Baillieu said this commitment follows today’s announcement of the biggest increase of ambulance staff in Victoria’s history. The Coalition plan will see 310 new ambulance paramedics with 210 based in country Victoria and an additional 30 patient transport officers allocated to country Victoria.

The Coalition plan will see an additional 40 paramedics located in the Hume DHS region and six of the new patient transport officers.

Wallan is a growing fast community which has been neglected by the Brumby Government.

The Coalition will allocate $2 million capital for the purchase of land and construction of a modern 24-hour ambulance station.

The Coalition will also fully staff the new ambulance station.

The new ambulance station will be built and operational by the end of the first term of a Baillieu Government. The site will be determined by Ambulance Victoria in conjunction with the local council and community.

“Not only will Wallan be better serviced and safer but the whole of Seymour and the Hume region will benefit by the Coalition’s commitment and support for regional Victoria,” Mr Baillieu said.

“Growth areas like Wallan have been neglected under the Brumby Government and Labor over the last 11 years.

“John Brumby promised to fix the health system in Victoria yet under his government hospital waiting lists, ambulance service and response times have only got worse from a shortage of resources.

“John Brumby and his government have not planned for growth and failed to make the provision required for stronger ambulance services in Wallan," Mr Baillieu said.

COALITION’S HUGE BOOST TO AMBULANCE SERVICE WITH 340 NEW OFFICERS

Stephanie Ryan - Monday, June 28, 2010
  • 13 PER CENT INCREASE IN OPERATIONAL AMBULANCE OFFICERS ACROSS VICTORIA
  • 210 NEW AMBULANCE PARAMEDICS FOR REGIONAL VICTORIA
  • 100 NEW AMBULANCE PARAMEDICS FOR METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE
  • 30 NEW PATIENT TRANSPORT OFFICERS
A Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will recruit an additional 310 new ambulance paramedics plus 30 new patient transport officers – a total of 340 ambulance staff – as part of a plan to properly fund and fix the ambulance crisis created by Labor in Victoria, Coalition Leader Ted Baillieu said today.

Mr Baillieu said all Victorians will benefit from the $151 million statewide plan, which would provide hundreds of new ambulance officers across regional and metropolitan Victoria, and an urgent boost to Ambulance Victoria which has been drastically mismanaged and under funded by John Brumby.

“A Baillieu Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will overhaul our ailing ambulance service, which has struggled under John Brumby, leaving residents experiencing lengthy waits for this basic service across the state, particularly in regional Victoria,” Mr Baillieu said.

A Baillieu Government will fund an additional 340 new ambulance staff statewide, with 100 in metropolitan Melbourne and 240 in regional Victoria.

AREA                     TOTAL  
Melbourne                 100         100 new paramedics
Barwon South West     50           44 paramedics 
                                                  6 patient transport officers
Grampians                  49           43 paramedics 
                                                  6 patient transport officers
Loddon Mallee             49           43 paramedics 
                                                  6 patient transport officers
Hume                          46          40 paramedics 
                                                  6 patient transport officers
Gippsland                    46          40 paramedics 
                                                  6 patient transport officers 
             STATEWIDE 340

Under the plan, the Coalition will work with Ambulance Victoria, local communities, and paramedics to allocate the new officers to areas of the state with the greatest clinical need.

“The additional ambulance officers will be deployed across the state in a rapid effort to reverse the ambulance crisis created and neglected by John Brumby over the past 11 years,” Mr Baillieu said.

“This will be the biggest single increase in additional staffing for the Ambulance service in the states history. We are going to rebuild the Ambulance service in Victoria.

“The Ambulance service is in crisis under John Brumby and we are going to rebuild it with hundreds of new paramedics.

“Victorians deserve the highest quality ambulance services and have the right to expect timely responses to ambulance services during emergencies,” Mr Baillieu said.

“Victoria’s ambulance service crisis has hit both regional and metropolitan Victoria. Lives are at risk because of John Brumby and Labor’s failure to properly manage Victoria’s ambulance services,” Leader of The Nationals Mr Ryan said.

“A series of distressing and disastrous incidents have occurred throughout Victoria which have directly impacted on the safety of the community and the ability of over-stretched Ambulance Victoria officers to respond,” Mr Ryan said.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR REGIONAL VICTORIA
The package will also provide for the recruitment of an additional 30 patient transport officers across regional Victoria, aimed at relieving the pressure on existing regional ambulance staff unavailable for emergency call outs whilst transporting patients over long distances.

Patient transport officers provide care and transport for patients. The primary objective of this role is to provide service in the transport of non-emergency, pre and post hospital patients, which will free ambulance officers and paramedics to respond to urgent call-outs.

RECRUITMENT AND RELOCATION INCENTIVE
Mr Baillieu said the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition would undertake an urgent paramedic recruitment drive. The recruitment drive will seek additional graduate paramedics including from interstate and New Zealand and will encourage previously employed ambulance officers to return to the service.
As part of the package, the Coalition will provide $3 million for recruitment and relocation expenses to attract new paramedics to regional Victoria.

FURTHER COALITION INITIATIVES

The Coalition will make further announcements on ambulance services prior to the November election.

The Coalition has already made a series of health announcements including a $1 billion health infrastructure fund, greater transparency on ambulance hospital bypass, Hospital Early Warning System and ramping data. The creation of an emergency department website to reveal key information on hospital waiting times, elective surgery and outpatient lists which the Brumby Government has kept secret and covered up from the Victorian community.

JOHN BRUMBY’S MISMANAGEMENT AND INCOMPETENCE LEADS TO CRISIS IN AMBULANCE SERVICES
In Opposition, Labor promised response times of ten minutes for code 1 emergencies statewide. Instead in government, Labor increased the response time to 15 minutes and has failed every year to meet even this reduced target.

  • May 2010 – A man who lived less than one block from the Maryborough ambulance station died after waiting more than 38 minutes for an ambulance. A second ambulance was at the station but there were no paramedics to staff it.
  • May 2010 – A five year old Gippsland boy died after waiting more than an hour for a specialist MICA response unit.
  • May 2010 – A secondary school student died in Maffra waiting 27 minutes for a MICA unit to arrive when she passed out at a party.
  • May 2010 – A 20 year old local football player died later in hospital after waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive in Sunbury.
  • May 2010 – A 24 year old footballer in Simpson waited almost an hour to be taken to hospital after suffering a severely broken leg in an on-field collision.
  • May 2010 – A 10 year old Doncaster schoolboy with a broken arm and a dislocated wrist waited more than an hour for an ambulance to arrive at his school.
  • April 2010 – A Korumburra man collapsed in his home from complications related to pneumonia and pleurisy after waiting more than two hours for an ambulance to arrive.
  • April 2010 – A Hamilton man endured a 30 minute wait for an ambulance before his wife was forced to drive him to hospital because the only ambulance crew in the area was on another call.
  • March 2010 – Two teenagers who were bashed and bleeding had to be rushed to Geelong Hospital in the back of a police vehicle because there was no ambulance available.
  • March 2010 – A man died after ploughing his car into a house in Bairnsdale after it took nearly half an hour for an ambulance to arrive.
  • February 2010 – An elderly woman was forced to wait nearly two hours for an ambulance after suffering a heart attack because ‘it was a busy night’.
  • Dec 2009 – A Corio man waited for an hour for an ambulance on a Sunday night with intense abdominal pain.
  • Dec 2009 – A Yarrawonga woman impaled on a fence had to wait 47 minutes for an ambulance to arrive from Wangaratta (55 kilometres away). The ambulance was not cleared to exceed the speed limit or use lights and sirens. A graduate ambulance officer in Yarrawonga was refused permission to attend the scene.
  • Oct 2009 – Former St Kilda football player Laurie Stephenson died from a heart attack in Maffra while waiting 38 minutes for a paramedic crew.

AUDITOR-GENERAL ASKED TO INVESTIGATE REGIONAL AMBULANCE CRISIS

Stephanie Ryan - Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition has written to the Auditor-General asking him to investigate a series of ambulance bungles that has had devastating consequences in regional and rural Victoria.

Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said there were serious problems plaguing Ambulance Victoria which warranted examination by Auditor-General Des Pearson.

“Ambulance services have diminished in regional and rural Victoria since the merger of Rural Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Ambulance Service into Ambulance Victoria in July 2008,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said Victorians had great regard for the tremendous work undertaken by trained ambulance personnel but inadequate provisions within Ambulance Victoria for regional and rural emergencies was a major concern.

“Every regional and rural state parliamentarian within the Coalition has been contacted by constituents and paramedics about inadequacies within Ambulance Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.

“The tragic death of five-year-old Gippsland boy Rupert Rafferty following the late arrival of a MICA ambulance and, similarly, transportation issues involved in the death of 16 year old Geordie Duguid from Maffra will form part of an inquiry currently being undertaken by the Coroner.

“Health Minister Daniel Andrews has dismissed outright calls for an independent inquiry, and Labor has failed to meet its own benchmarks after claiming in Opposition it would fix the health system including issues relating to ambulance services.

“Families outside Melbourne are increasingly without the immediate availability of ambulance services and trained paramedics are often unable to meet service demands because of administrative constraints within Ambulance Victoria.

“There are numerous problems plaguing Ambulance Victoria which the Coalition believes warrant investigation by the Auditor-General,” Mr Ryan said.

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