NSW Ambulance is defending a decision to transport a burns victim to Orange hospital by road ambulance as an alternative to a helicopter last week, saying it was the fastest mode of transport available at the time to ensure a better outcome for the patient.
The 26-year-old woman was driven to Orange hospital late last week with severe burns after she escaped from a fire out onto a shop awning at Grenfell.
She is now being treated for her burns at Concord Hospital and is an induced coma.
The spokesman was referring to a Central Western Daily report that the ambulance had to travel at high speed from Grenfell to Orange in the early hours of the morning while the Orange-based NSW Ambulance helicopter sat in the hangar on Bathurst Road because it is not funded to fly at night.
NSW Ambulance media manager John Wilson said patients are only transported under lights and sirens when a patient’s life is at risk.
“When transporting patients under lights and sirens there is always some degree of risk.
“However our paramedics drive to conditions and do not put their lives or the lives of patients at risk,” he said.
“Not everyone is aware it (Orange-based helicopter) doesn’t fly at night,” Mr Wilson said.
A Grenfell resident told the Central Western Daily fellow residents of the town could not understand why the young woman was driven to Orange in an ambulance in a trip that took 80 minutes by road.
“People out this way are very unhappy about what has happened with the helicopter service,” he said.
A review of whether or not the Orange-based helicopter should by funded by the NSW government to fly at night is now underway.
It is being conducted by Ernst & Young, with deputations already received from Orange City Council and the CENTROC group of councils around the central west.