Community News

Saving lives gets political

A meeting will take place on Thursday this week at the office of Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis between local paramedics and the NSW Ambulance Service.
The meeting has been called to discuss issues regarding the newly implemented 24-hour roster, at the Maclean ambulance station.
Mr Gulaptis said last week that he’d met with the paramedics in Maclean some time ago regarding the new roster.
“I have raised the matter with the minister for health, in support of the paramedics’ request for an additional on-call staff,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“I will be meeting again with the paramedics and the NSW Ambulance Service [in the near future] to discuss the new roster and I will continue to back the local paramedics for the additional on-call service, to ensure our community is well serviced.”
Australian Paramedic Association NSW (APA NSW) delegate and paramedic Todd Hart said that he hoped common sense would prevail, and on-call services would be introduced for the Maclean station.
“Since the new roster has been put in place there have already been cases of delayed care, due to the local crew doing transfers and no safety net of an on-call crew in place for the community,” Mr Hart said.
“I’m hoping [from the discussions at Thursdays meeting] that the community of Maclean will get the services they require and need and that the paramedics will be able to deliver the outcome they’ve been fighting for.
“NSW Ambulance can spin it however they want, but at the end of the day, two ambulances are better than one.”
The closure of the Maclean hospital’s helipad has put added stress on paramedics at the Maclean station, who are now tasked to transfer seriously ill patients from the hospital to the alternative helicopter landing site at McIntyre’s Airfield on Northbank Road, Palmers Island.
“Previously, wards men, nurses and doctors could facilitate the transfer within the facility on hospital grounds,” Mr Hart said.
“Now that the helipad is non-operational, Maclean paramedics have to transfer patients to the helipad (which is located in a flood zone), further minimising their availability to undertake emergency work.
“NSW Ambulance has led the public to believe that there’s an increase in service due to the greater number of staff at Maclean station. The truth is that nothing has changed – there is still only one crew available.
“The staff is still overstressed and now have to undertake these transfers.
“There has been a lack of proactive planning, when they knew the existing helipads were not suitable for the replacement aircraft, which has been in the planning for 12-18 months.
“This was brought to management’s attention at a local level back in November 2016 and we are still without an operational helipad at Maclean hospital.
“Serious questions need to be asked to these decision makers, regarding their lack of foresight and planning.”