NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has urged people across the state to only call ambulances for emergencies as paramedics are operating in a constant state of crisis.
“As the Health Minister (Brad Hazzard) quite clearly made the point yesterday – if it’s not an emergency, please don’t call triple-zero,” Mr Perrottet told media on Friday.
“Triple-zero is there for emergencies.
“What we’re seeing more and more of now is that people are calling triple-zero in times where there’s not an emergency at hand.
“And we want obviously our emergency departments to be there for real emergencies.”
The premier has promised there will be urgent funding for paramedics in the NSW June budget.
“(That funding is) incredibly important because they do an amazing job on our frontline every single day.”
The premier’s and health minister’s plea comes as a serious and dangerous ramping crisis continues with multiple regional centres going without access to ambulances.
In the 24 hours on Thursday, eleven ambulances faced wait times of up to four hours at the Wollongong emergency department before they could get back on the road according to Labor Health spokesman Ryan Park.
Mr Park went on to discuss the ramping crisis, “We cannot have a situation where major centres like the Central Coast, the Illawarra, Sydney, and Newcastle are left without an ambulance to patrol and service their community,” Mr Park said.
“This issue of ramping is now reaching crisis levels.
“Let’s be very clear – this is putting lives at risk.
“If people are calling triple-zero and they’re waiting hours before they get attended to it is only a matter of time before we have catastrophic outcomes and someone loses their life.”
The situation is so dire that NSW Ambulance is in the final stages of reviewing a pilot plan to send taxis to patients who dial triple-zero but do not require urgent care.
From October to December 2021, NSW Ambulance saw a 3.9% increase in emergency calls with 13,113 additional calls then in the same quarter last year.
P1A priority cases were up 26.1% from 2019 data, these are the most critical incidents such as cardiac-related events.
On a concerning note the NSW Health Bureau of health information website has not released the January to March 2021 report, a critical report needed to see how bad the situation is. What are they hiding? We will seek an answer from NSW Health on this.