ORANGE paramedics were “flogged” on New Year’s Eve, according to a union official who says there were not enough paramedics due to staffing shortages.
Orange Fire and Rescue has confirmed a unit responded to a patient with chest pain at a nursing home early yesterday morning when no ambulances were available.
Health Services Union representative Ian Spurway said, since hearing of the incident, he was concerned the patient was not provided with adequate treatment in a timely manner.
“With all due respect to the firies they are not trained to deal with coronary situations and I don’t believe this could be a miscommunication issue,” he said.
“Certain medications have to be delivered within a tight time frame and you have to carry out an ECG on someone who is having a coronary episode.”
Mr Spurway said, on the same night, an on-call paramedic crew worked a 22-hour shift.
“They had worked their full 12-hour day shift and then were on call working all night until 5am the next morning,” he said.
“This is just another case of how the system isn’t working and the Health Services Union will be taking up the case with NSW Ambulance.
“This is an absolutely unacceptable situation.”
Orange councillor Glenn Taylor, who is lobbying for more paramedics in Orange, said this latest incident was another in a long line that had been relayed to him in recent weeks.
“I can assure the people of Orange that council is going to ramp up this campaign, because a situation where a paramedic works for 22 hours straight is ridiculous. How can you function properly after that length of time on the job? Lives are at stake here.”
A spokesperson for the nursing home was unavailable for comment.
The NSW Ambulance media unit was closed yesterday, but was asked to provide a response.