The State Liberals today claimed that the Weatherill Government is undermining patient safety by failing to properly resource ambulance services to cope with the impact of its risky Transforming Health plan.
“The downgrading of three metropolitan Emergency Departments and the centralisation of medical and surgical services are dramatically increasing the demand for ambulance services that are already stretched to breaking point,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.
“Emergency call outs are projected to increase by 6% this year but the Weatherill Government has budgeted to increase Ambulance Service staff by less than 2%.
“Ambulance officers warn that the current workload at the beginning of winter is as high as the record demand that was experienced at the end of winter last year.
The Weatherill Government’s failure is being seen in our Emergency Departments. As at 11am today:
• 4 of the 7 ED’s were operating at code red;
• Flinders MC had 8 more patients than treating bays, with another 4 coming in in ambulances;
• Royal Adelaide had 2 more patients than treating bays, with another 9 coming in in ambulances; and
• 23 ambulances had, in the 3 hours to 11am, been delayed at EDs due to congestion.
“The Ambulance Service will not be able to cope with the impact of Transforming Health without a substantial increase in resources,” said Mr Wade.
The Weatherill Government is effectively delivering a budget cut by allocating just $3.4 million more to meet demand at the same time Treasury is taking out an efficiency dividend of $5 million.
“Thousands of patients will need to be transported further to get to the ‘right’ hospital tying up much of the ambulance fleet with long trips and long waits at overcrowded emergency departments.
“Under Labor’s plan critical patients will need to be shuffled from one hospital to another for treatment.”