Fears of longer response times under new plan
AS THE State Government rolls out an ambulance program centred on new “super stations” the future of the smaller Tregear and Colyton stations appears uncertain.
Mt Druitt state Labor MP Edmond Atalla said Tregear had already been reduced to minimal staff and ambulances were being called from further afield to service Mt Druitt.
A NSW Ambulance spokesman said there were no plans to close the stations, but the health union sees a future where neither one has dedicated staff. It suggested the changes would lead to longer response times.
... the new super stations will lead to inferior ambulance coverage and a blowout in response times
MT DRUITT state Labor MP Edmond Atalla has predicted the demise of the ambulance station at Tregear and poor service from Colyton, as the State Government forges ahead with its new ambulance service model.
A NSW Ambulance spokesman said there were no plans to shut the two stations, however, the $150 million Sydney Ambulance Metropolitan Infrastructure (SAMIS) program was based on only nine larger regional ambulance stations and several “response points”.
“The SAMIS program is about having modern, purpose-built facilities for paramedics, rather than ageing stations that have outlived their functional use,” the spokesman said.
Mr Atalla said Tregear station was already reduced to two ambulances, to service an electorate of more than 83,000 residents.
“The government will not be able to sustain a station that only has two ambulances,” Mr Atalla said.
“Eventually, they will consolidate and close this station down.”
Mr Atalla said ambulances were sometimes called to Mt Druitt from as far away as Campbelltown.
A Health Services Union spokesman said local staff started and ended shifts at Tregear and Colyton but that would not be the case once the SAMIS program started.
He said staff would be moved to Penrith to start and end their shifts, meaning there would be an increase in response times to Mt Druitt and surrounding suburbs.
Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said the reform would not improve services.
“From the outset, HSU has been concerned that the new super stations will lead to inferior ambulance coverage and a blowout in response times,” Mr Hayes said.
The NSW Ambulance spokesman said there would not be redundancies or staff cuts under the program and an extra 85 staff would be added to the NSW force.
The HSU spokesman said the union thought 800 staff were needed in NSW and that Blacktown and Mt Druitt were understaffed.
Super stations would be built at Blacktown, Penrith, Liverpool, Bankstown and Kogarah in 2017.
In response to a question by Mr Atalla in parliament, the Health Minister included the inner west, Northmead, Artarmon and Caringbah as further sites in the Paramedic Response Network.