Ambulance access restored: airport roadwork delays affect patient transfers

ACCESS RESTORED: Ambulances can now access the Max Hazelton Aero Centre at Orange Airport. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0710sgairport1

ACCESS RESTORED: Ambulances can now access the Max Hazelton Aero Centre at Orange Airport. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0710sgairport1

AMBULANCE patients needing to be airlifted to hospital will spend less time on the tarmac after access was restored to the ambulance interchange on Thursday.

Orange Aero Club president John Pullen raised concerns last month about passenger comfort after road surfacing work at the new terminal building was delayed due to cold weather conditions.

The $360,000 Max Hazelton Aero Centre was opened in August last year and included an undercover area to transfer patients from road ambulances to fixed-wing aircraft, however, the roadworks from the neighbouring terminal encroached on the building, preventing ambulances from accessing the facility.

Ambulances were forced to deliver patients directly to the tarmac.

Mr Pullen welcomed the news, but said there had been no communication between the June meeting and the reopening.

“It should have only taken six weeks, but six weeks came and went and to be told at the meeting, ‘we can’t give you a date’ gave us nothing to go on,” he said.

“We weren’t getting full utilisation of the facility because there was no cover for the ambulance and the patients.

“But to see it start to be reused again is great news.” 

Orange City Council spokesman Nick Redmond said disruptions were inevitable during construction, but the council had strived to keep them to a minimum and access was able to be restored on Thursday. 

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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