The Sunshine Coast Daily:Supplied

Ambulance wait times could rise

A UNION organiser for Queensland ambulances has warned response times in Bundaberg may be set to soar, after a shortfall in new staff employed across the state.

Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers state organiser Kroy Day said while staffing levels had improved in recent years, not enough ambulance officers were appointed last year to counteract the numbers of those leaving the job.

“Usually the government appoints 250 ambulance officers above the attrition rate to cope - this year, they only appointed 50,” Mr Day said.

“Having only 50 new ambulance officers will affect Bundaberg because demand is increasing and they are going to need additional staff.”

Mr Day said delays may also be caused by “ramping,” when paramedics had to treat patients in ambulances while waiting for room in the hospital's emergency department.

“It does happen in Bundaberg,” Mr Day said.

“The unknown thing is how many people have suffered or died because ambulances can't respond.”

But a spokesman for the Department of Community Safety said staffing levels were not a problem in the area, with new appointments outstripping a rise in demand for service.

“The Bundaberg/Burnett Coast area has a current staff establishment of 55 - in June 2004, the staffing establishment for the Bundaberg/Burnett Coast area was 32,” the spokesman said.

“This represents a 72% increase to current levels. Demand for the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) in this area has increased by 41% since 2004.”

The spokesman said the Queensland Ambulance Service used a dynamic workforce model to align ambulance resources with demand, with workload monitored continually to ensure correct resource allocation.

“The Bundaberg/Burnett Coast area rosters four day shifts, two afternoon shifts and two night shift crews each weekend,” the spokesman said.

“Further to this, an officer-in-charge and an intensive care flight paramedic are on duty, and an additional crew is rostered for emergency availability.”

The main response area for Bundaberg/Burnett Coast paramedic crews is Bundaberg, Burnett Coast, Moore Park, Innes Park, Coral Cove and back-up for QAS Gin Gin crews, QAS Childers crews and Woodgate Community First Responder Group.

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