CLAIMS by the NSW Ambulance Service that staffing in the district is adequate are impossible to reconcile with recent accounts of the working conditions of paramedics.
In Orange the council and state MP Andrew Gee are now committed to lobbying for a staffing increase and Cabonne may follow suit.
Their calls for more paramedics comes after the CWD reported that staff numbers in Orange have been stagnant for decades while the population has been steadily increasing.
Today we revealed that the situation is as bad or worse in neighbouring towns and villages.
With paramedics often responding to an emergency alone in small centres it is not unusual for a paramedic to call on a civilian to drive the ambulance back to hospital while he or she tends to the patient.
The preferred procedure is to call in a police officer or an emergency services worker but the reality is that members of the public at the scene are called upon to drive.
This do-it-yourself ambulance service would not be acceptable in metropolitan areas and it should not be acceptable in regional NSW.
Ambulance crews don’t operate two-up just so they have the luxury of a driver qualified to drive an emergency vehicle, it is the lifesaving medical assistance that a pair could provide that is also missing from the solo response.
The fact that the ambulance service is prepared to operate the Orange station with staff numbers that often require paramedics to work long after their shift has finished or paramedics in Molong to appeal for a bystander to get behind the wheel shows just how critical staffing has become.
The disturbing thing is that these have become accepted practice.
It does not happen all the time but when it does there is no ultimatum from the top demanding an explanation.
What the public and our elected representatives get is an assurance that everything is under control, when clearly it is not.