A re-elected Napthine Coalition Government will boost resources at the Bairnsdale ambulance station by adding a new night shift in 2015/16, Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said today.
Following several meetings with the regional manager and local paramedics, Mr Bull said it had been made clear to him an additional night shift in Bairnsdale was the highest priority for ambulance services locally.
"I am advised this will reduce the need to recall off-duty paramedics to cover night shift rosters and will provide better coverage in Lakes Entrance and Paynesville by lessening the demand on their services to cover the Bairnsdale area in times of high need,” Mr Bull said.
“I have also had discussions around the challenges of being able to cater for the additional staff for this service on the current site, which has its limitations. Talks have commenced and I will continue to liaise with the local Auxiliary and Ambulance Victoria in relation to this.
“The Auxiliary did an incredible amount of fundraising for the current site and has continued this work to be well placed to address future need, so I look forward to continuing discussion with both them and AV on this matter.
“It is unfortunate the EBA negotiations have not been resolved pre-election, but I am pleased we have been able to continue discussions locally in relation to improving service provision and I thank those involved.”
Mr Bull said he has been advised that an additional night shift roster will require up to six more paramedic staff to operate and called on the Labor Party to match the commitment.
“It is high time our candidate, who is Drouin based, visited the electorate and discussed a number of local matters, including this one, with local people,” he said.
Minister for Health, David Davis, said that over the last four years, the Coalition Government has expanded ambulance resources considerably across the Gippsland region.
Mr Davis said that since coming to government the Coalition has invested the following in the Gippsland region, including:
• more than 100 paramedics,
• the provision of new MICA single responder units at Bairnsdale, Sale and Wonthaggi,
• upgrading the Maffra, Grantville and Cowes branches to 24-hour services,
• introducing non-emergency patient transport crews to Morwell and Wonthaggi, and
• establishing a multi-officer branch at Korumburra.
Earlier this year, a new regional cardiac initiative was launched in Bairnsdale enabling MICA paramedics to administer blood clot-dissolving drugs to heart attack and stroke patients.
This thrombolysis program has been progressively rolled out across the state, has already saved many lives and will continue to help Victoria deliver what is already a world-leading cardiac incident survival rate.
In its first term, the Coalition Government has increased the number of paramedics on the road by 679 across the state – a 21% increase with 28,602 additional shifts.
The ambulance budget has also been increased by 23 per cent since the Coalition came to office, to $696.5 million in 2014-15.