Wait hurts locals too

GYMPIE’S emergency patients are among those having to wait for treatment while ambulances are ramped at the Sunshine Coast’s busiest hospital, Nambour.

The LHMU, the union representing ambulance officers, has slammed the Queensland Government for its ongoing failure to address urgent resourcing and fatigue issues within the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS).

LHMU Organiser Kroy Day said that despite ramping (where ambulance officers wait with patients at hospitals until they can be admitted into the care of hospital staff) only getting more common across the state, the Queensland Government was still not doing enough to fix the problem.

“The QAS has allocated resources to employ only 75 new ambulance officers in the financial year 2010-11,” Mr Day said.

“That’s an abysmal figure when we need to see increases of about 250 positions a year state-wide to keep pace with population growth if we’ve got any hope of providing the kind of ambulance service that Queenslanders expect and deserve.”

The union’s warning comes as new figures came to light showing ambulance officers in Queensland worked 830,000 hours of overtime last year.

“That’s a resourcing problem that we need to see addressed as a matter of priority, as long hours of overtime just burn ambulance officers out and contribute to low retention rates in the profession,” Mr Day said.

“Paramedics work long and hard enough without being expected to pick up the slack for a Government that is consistently not allocating enough time or funding to meet the demands of a growing state.”

Gympie Times

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