HEALTH EMERGENCY: Mt Barker paramedic Sam, whose surname has been withheld for work safety reasons, is warning that current ambulance resourcing in the Hills is dangerous. According to the Ambulance Employees Association, the region has the same number of crews as it did in the 1990s, despite Mt Barker’s population growth.

Up front

Ambulance crew numbers a safety risk

The number of ambulance crews in the Hills has not increased in more than 20 years which is creating a dangerous situation that is putting lives at risk, local paramedics have warned.
According to the Ambulance Employees Association no additional crews have been added to the area – stretching from Mt Pleasant to Strathalbyn – since the 1990s, despite a 55% increase in the population of the Mt Barker Council region since the early 2000s.
The Hills area has three full-time paid crews, three volunteer crews and a part-time transfer crew which were so stretched on August 31 the SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) called a “status white” – meaning patient safety was adversely affected and ambulance crews across the Hills and Fleurieu were unable to keep up with demand.
Mt Barker paramedic Sam and Strathalbyn paramedic Ken – whose surnames have been withheld for workplace safety reasons – said paid ambulance crews in Mt Barker, Stirling and Woodside were regularly busy for most of a 12-hour shift, leaving the region reliant on crews from further afield – such as Adelaide or volunteers at Strathalbyn and Mt Pleasant.