Ambulance response times criticism hits a sore point after Saturday's stabbings

UNDER PRESSURE: A NSW Ambulance spokesperson says ambulance crews had their hands full at the time of  a stabbing.

UNDER PRESSURE: A NSW Ambulance spokesperson says ambulance crews had their hands full at the time of a stabbing.

A NSW Ambulance spokesperson has defended its 19-minute response time to a victim with multiple stab wounds in Amaroo Crescent on Saturday night, saying it despatched a paramedic crew as soon as the emergency call was logged, coming at a time when crews were under pressure attending to a number of medical emergencies.

“At 11.23pm on Saturday, NSW Ambulance received a call to help a patient reported to have been injured during a brawl,” a NSW Ambulance spokesperson said.

“At the time of the call, NSW Ambulance was fully rostered but experiencing extremely heavy emergency workload across the region, with every nearby paramedic crew engaged in patient care,” the spokesperson said.

NSW Ambulance media staff said at the time the call was received for Amaroo Crescent Orange had a full complement on duty of two ambulances.

One was the rostered night crew and the second was the on-call crew which also worked through the night.

“We also utilised the services of a third out of town crew which was in Orange at the time,”director of regional operations for NSW Ambulance, Mark Beasley said.


NSW Ambulance aims to meet a benchmark response time of 10.2 minutes for life-threatening cases in NSW.

The response to the 23-year-old stabbing victim on Saturday night was almost double that amount of time.

Orange police were first on the scene of the stabbing attack where the victim was stabbed with a kitchen knife in the chest, stomach and back out on the front lawn of a house where a party was being held.

On Tuesday Orange police would not comment on time they had to wait for an ambulance to assist the victim. After undergoing surgery the victim of the stabbing remains in a stable condition in Orange hospital.

A 17-year-old teenager remains in custody after being charged with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The NSW Ambulance spokesperson says its emergency response time is the period between when a tripple-0 emergency call is recorded and the time the first ambulance resource arrives at the scene in a life-threatening case. In 2012/13 themedian response time for potentially life-threatening cases was 11.13 minutes.

NSW Ambulance says the change in response performance is primarily due to higher demand and longer off stretcher times which limits the overall availability of ambulances to respond in this state.

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