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.