In response to the Independent’s enquiry, NSW Ambulance says it is “not aware of any incidents or any adverse outcomes due to roster changes in recent months where critically injured patients or patients suffering life-threatening medical emergencies have had to wait due to a delayed ambulance”.
The statement says NSW Ambulance’s “is committed to ensuring that Maclean and surrounding communities have timely access to paramedic care in the case of a medical emergency”.
NSW Ambulance refutes Maclean paramedics’ claims that the roster changes implemented earlier this year – increasing overall staffing from five to 12 paramedics, expanding hours of operation to 24 and relieving paramedics from being on-call while off duty – have had a negative impact.
“The increase in staff and corresponding reduction in fatigue by not requiring paramedics to respond to emergencies from home when they complete duty shifts, is very much in the interests of both the paramedics and the local community of Maclean,” the statement says.
“Over the worst winter flu season on record, these additional staff at Maclean meant ambulance response times were only mildly affected, despite the highest number of incidents ever reported.
“NSW Ambulance has strategies in place to manage surges in demand for paramedic services, including the deployment of resources from areas of lower demand to areas of higher demand.
“This is the operational model of ambulance services throughout Australia and overseas.”