Kim O’KEEFFE (Shepparton) (09:54): In the house this week we have heard of many alarming incidents in regard to the ambulance response crisis, including the 20 lives that have been lost in Victoria this past 12 months, and my thoughts are with all of those families. Last week a number of alarming incidents were brought to my attention by a Nathalia resident. Severe diabetic 83-year-old Patricia was being visited by the district nurse, who assessed that she needed an ambulance. A neighbour who sat with Patricia, which was a 3-hour wait for the ambulance, felt extremely concerned as Patricia was so unwell. He said to wait 3 hours was shocking and distressful. He spoke of another incident where a gentleman collapsed with a suspected heart attack and had to wait 55 minutes, and another just this week of a gentleman who had a fall, breaking his ribs, and had to wait in pain for over 1 hour.
In speaking to Ambulance Victoria last week and discussing Nathalia’s concerns they said they are doing the best that they can with the resources they have. This is in no way a reflection on our hardworking and wonderful paramedics. This is a lack of resources in a system that is clearly broken and not working. The people of Nathalia feel so concerned and disconnected from medical health support. They are also struggling to get doctors appointments, and there is no doctor on call after 5 pm. In question time yesterday in relation to the ambulance delays the Minister for Health said we will do better. We need immediate action to address the health crisis and to support our local communities to ensure our ambulance services are able to meet their performance targets and keep our communities safe and that patients have access to the health care that they need before more lives are lost.