Hundreds of critically ill Victorians in ambulances are being diverted every week from their closest or most suitable hospital because that emergency department (ED) can’t cope with their arrival.
An Andrews Labor Government Press Release on 17 September 2015 claimed:
“â€¦from Wednesday 7 October, all Victorian metropolitan public hospitals will be required to accept all patients arriving by ambulance. Bypass will only be able to be requested in exceptional circumstances, such as power failure.”
However, evidence extracted from the Labor Government shows that Ambulance bypass and ramping is still regularly occurring despite Daniel Andrews’ unequivocal promise to end the practice.
Daniel Andrews has purposefully stopped the public reporting of bypass data, so he can hide the reality of the problem and his failure to deliver on his promise. Subsequently, the CEO of Ambulance Victoria informed a Parliamentary hearing that ramping and bypass data is no longer even collated for himself, let alone the Board or the Minister for Ambulance Services.
Across the State the proportion of patients transferred off ambulance stretchers within 40 minutes into hospital EDs is now significantly worse than when Daniel Andrews came to government and well below the 90% target.
Every minute paramedics spend standing with patients in emergency department hallways, is a minute they are not available to respond to another family’s emergency.
More broadly, bypass, ramping and transfer times are symptoms of the pressure our Hospital EDs are under and their capacity to treat critically ill patients that urgently need acute care arriving in an Ambulance.
Ambulance Victoria are working hard to improve their operations, but the system fails when they can’t deliver a patient to the local ED or when they take much longer than they should to get them off the trolley.
Daniel Andrews needs to reinstate public reporting of the data he axed so that Victorians are no longer in the dark about the pressure points and performance of our health services.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge:
"Daniel Andrews promised to fix ambulance bypass but it’s still occurring and now he’s covering up the data."
"Victorians deserve to know the extent that ambulances are being redistributed because if patients can’t be taken to their local Hospital ED it compromises their care."
"Our hospital EDs are under massive pressure but instead of addressing the issue Daniel Andrews is just hiding the figures from Victorians."
Data received under FOI shows:
• Over a 2-day period in August 2017, 214 Ambulances were ‘redistributed’ from 19 hospitals to secondary hospitals due to ‘crew advise ramping’ and ‘multiple cars at hospital’
• The hospitals requiring the highest number of diversions were Northern (35), Sunshine (29), Royal Melbourne (22) and the Austin (21)
• In one hour alone, there were 16 ambulance-initiated redistributions
• 2 years after Bypass ended the Review of the Post Bypass Era is still in “draft form only” and therefore the Labor Government has refused to release it