SHRINK­ING STA­TIONS

Fears of longer re­sponse times un­der new plan

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Elisha Pearce

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.

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