Ambulance records were destroyed in Victoria for the third consecutive quarter, figures released Saturday revealed.
Ambulance Victoria said in a statement that Covid, sick patients resulting from deferred care and staff layoffs had created record demand for ambulances, which they said had increased 16% from the previous quarter.
The data revealed that ambulances responded to 97,928 “code one” cases across the state from April to June this year, a surprising increase of more than 13,000 over the same period last year.
Victoria Ambulance said the number was also nearly 5,000 higher than in January-March of this year.
The statewide median response rate was 15 minutes and 49 seconds, the data reveal.
Felicity Topp, Ambulance Victoria’s interim chief executive, said Covid continues to pose a risk.
“There are no signs of a slowdown in demand during the winter. Covid-19 continues to pose a high risk to Victorian residents and will continue to do so for some time, ”Ms Topp said on Saturday.
To cope with demand, Ms. Topp said the Victoria Ambulance oversaw a huge expansion in the number of paramedics and triage services, as well as encouraging the use of the Victoria’s Virtual Emergency Department.
He said a record 700 paramedics were recruited last year, while 400 have already been recruited so far this year.
From April to June, more than 8,000 patients were referred to the virtual emergency room, the data showed.
“If the patient does not appear to require immediate transport to the emergency room, paramedics are able to arrange a video consultation with an emergency doctor or nurse to determine if care can be safely and effectively provided at home.” Ms. Topp said.
He said “thousands of patients” had been treated at home with this method.
Originally published as the Victoria Ambulance Crisis triggers the warning due to “extremely high” demand.