600 trips on highway a month - ambos want Bruce upgrade

PARAMEDICS have thrown their support behind a community push for a six-lane Bruce Hwy.

Ambulance officers travel on the busy Sunshine Coast to Caboolture stretch of the highway an average 600 times a month to transfer patients to Brisbane hospitals.

United Voice - the Professional Ambulance Officers' Union - says traffic congestion on the four-lane stretch is preventing ambulances from arriving within the appropriate time frames for life-threatening situations or patient medical appointments.

At least 10,000 people travel to Brisbane each year from the Sunshine Coast for treatment.

The 52km stretch between Sunshine Coast and Caboolture has been the scene of many car accidents where paramedics have had to nudge their way through bumper-to-bumper traffic to reach patients.

United Voice ambulance section co-ordinator Jeanette Temperley said paramedics were unable to respond to other emergencies on the Coast when they were stuck in traffic on the Bruce.

Ms Temperley said the union supported widening the highway to six lanes.

"Three lanes each way would help because having that additional road space during an incident would allow emergency vehicles to travel between congested traffic," Ms Temperley said.

"Paramedics are trained to deal with whatever they have got, and sometimes that is not much."

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the goal was to improve the basic level of safety, capacity and flood mitigation on the highway over the next 10 years.

"The Federal Government should make the highway a priority, not a national high-speed rail plan, and commit to making it dual carriageway all the way to Cairns," the spokeswoman said.

"Without additional investment by the Federal Government for the highway many worthy projects will not be funded.''



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