Data released on Saturday revealed that ambulance records in Victoria had been broken for the third consecutive quarter.
Ambulance Victoria said in a statement that Covid, sick patients as a result of deferred care and staff leave have created record demand for ambulances, which they said was up 16 per cent from the previous quarter.
The data revealed that from April to June of this year ambulances responded to 97,928 “one-code” cases across the state — a staggering increase of more than 13,000 over the same period last year.
Ambulance Victoria said the number is about 5,000 more than in the January-March period this year.
The data revealed that the average response rate across the state was 15 minutes and 49 seconds.
Felicity Tope, interim chief executive of Ambulance Victoria, said Covid remains a risk.
There are no indications that demand will slow during the winter season. “Covid-19 remains a significant risk to the population of Victoria and will continue to do so for some time,” Ms Taub said on Saturday.
To meet the demand, Ms Top said Ambulance Victoria had overseen a significant increase in the number of paramedics and triage services, as well as encouraging the use of Victoria’s virtual emergency department.
She said 700 paramedics were recruited last year, while 400 have already been recruited so far this year.
The data showed that from April to June, more than 8,000 patients were referred to the virtual emergency department.
“If a patient does not appear to need immediate transfer to the emergency department, paramedics can arrange a video consultation with an emergency physician or nurse practitioner to determine if care can be provided safely and effectively at home,” Ms. Top said.
She said “thousands of patients” have been treated at home in this way.
Originally published as Victoria’s ambulance crisis raises alarm due to ‘too high’ demand