Racking, packing and stacking ambulance patients

The State Liberals fear that the Government’s new ambulance bus will be used to ‘rack, pack and stack’ ambulance patients as Labor struggles to stop its Transforming Health plan unravelling.

The downgrading of three metropolitan Emergency Departments and the centralisation of medical and surgical services under Transforming Health will dramatically increase the need for ambulance services.

Health sector sources are concerned that the Government has grossly underestimated the increased demand for ambulance services that will result from its health cuts plan – perhaps by as much as 100%.

“Thousands of patients will need to be transported further to get to the ‘right’ hospital tying up much of the ambulance fleet with long trips and long waits at overcrowded emergency departments,” said Shadow Minister for Health Stephen Wade.

“Under Labor’s plan critical patients will need to be shuffled from one hospital to another for treatment.”

For example, earlier this month Professor Horowitz warned that the closure of the cardiac catheterisation labs at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital would mean that at least 1,400 heart disease patients a year will need to be transferred to the RAH to access a catheterisation lab and then back to the QEH to continue their treatment.

“Rather than buying the additional ambulances they will need, we fear that the Government will try to use the ambulance bus for inter-hospital transfers.

“Ambulance buses are useful as a field base in an emergency, but we have real concerns about them being used for inter-hospital transfers.”