The State Liberals have expressed serious concern at the revelation that the Weatherill Government is downgrading the response to motor vehicle accidents as its latest crisis response to hospital overcrowding.
“It is appalling that the Weatherill Government has failed to tell South Australians that they are further downgrading our ambulance service by terminating the practice of despatching an ambulance to motor vehicle accidents in case there is an injury,” said Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade
The Ambulance Service has changed its policy such that it will no longer automatically attend all Motor Vehicle Accidents and will now only attend once it is confirmed that a patient requires assistance.
“This measure can only increase the risk to patients,” said Mr Wade.
“The current practice makes good sense - people at the scene may not be able to ring 000, the injury may not be readily apparent to passers-by or even first responders, and in an emergency minutes matter, particularly in the Hills and country.
“The decision will put additional pressure on first responders, in particular police and CFS volunteers.
“There is no indication of what risk assessment has been undertaken.
“There is no indication that this is a short-term measure.
“There is no indication that there was consultation with the CFS, CFS volunteers and the police.
“There is no explanation why this change needs to apply Statewide.
“First responders have expressed their concern that the delayed response will not only increase the risk to patients but put more strain on both volunteers and other members of the community.
“Neither group should have to pay for the Weatherill Government’s mismanagement of health.
An Ambulance Service memorandum, issued on Tuesday states:
Current policy is for SAAS to attend all motor vehicle accidents as a matter of course, regardless of whether the person contacts an alternative emergency service, via Triple Zero (000) or other non-emergency line, specifically states that injuries have or have not occurred or that they do or do not require an ambulance.
In response to our current situation, SAAS has to alter this practice in order to more effectively manage ambulance resources to respond to those emergencies where there are known patients.