Measures set to improve Qld Ambulance

Laine Clark |

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath says new measures will relieve the demand for Queensland paramedics amid an investigation into the death of a woman who reportedly waited hours for an ambulance.

But the Liberal National Party says the Queensland Ambulance Service needs a massive staff injection to avoid lengthy response times after claiming another Townsville woman had died while waiting for paramedics.

Ms D’Ath on Friday revealed moves have been taken to ease pressure on the QAS during the state’s COVID-19 surge, saying there has been an increase in demand for paramedics since Queensland opened its borders last month.

“They’ve put in place a whole lot of new measures, including clinicians who man dedicated COVID lines to talk to people and triage whether they actually need an ambulance to come out to them or not,” she said.

“For every one clinician sitting in that team, they’re probably saving eight paramedics on the road from having to deal with those patients, so it’s really seeing improvements.”

But LNP MP Dale Last said more needed to be done, claiming another incident had come to light since reports of a woman dying in Townsville on Saturday after waiting more than two hours for an ambulance.

Mr Last says Townsville man Gary Savill had to call triple zero twice before waiting more than half an hour for an ambulance after finding his wife of 54 years unresponsive at their home last October.

“Unfortunately by the time the ambulance arrived she had passed away,” Mr Last told AAP.

“It is devastating for him and his family. These families carry that burden for the rest of their lives, wondering if there had been a quick response would that person have been saved?

“It’s not good enough. There is a systemic failure for the last 12 months across Queensland with ambulance ramping and delays in response times.

“It is clear they need a major injection of staff supported by the appropriate resources.”

Ms D’Ath said she was aware of the circumstances of the Townsville woman’s death last weekend but would not comment while the QAS investigates.

“It is certainly too early and completely inappropriate for the Opposition to draw links to any availability of ambulances to deaths when they are under investigation,” she said.

“Let’s leave it to the experts to work out if there were any contributing factors.”