PARAMEDICS are waiting longer for patients to be admitted to Orange hospital, putting pressure on the city’s ambulance service.
The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) Performance Profiles, released this week, showed 65 per cent of patients transported by ambulance waited more than half an hour for a bed in the Orange emergency department, far behind Bathurst and Dubbo hospitals.
The statistics revealed an unprecedented number of critically-ill patients, combined with bed shortages, was putting pressure on staff and increasing waiting times for non-urgent cases.
Health Services Union representative Ian Spurway said it was protocol for paramedics to remain with patients until they were given a bed.
“It is part of the handover process where we have to wait with the patient to provide patient details to treating staff,” he said.
“It is an incredibly busy department.”
“[However] It means while we are there we have to call in crews from smaller places like Molong and Blayney to cover Orange.”
The BHI statistics stated 1395 patients were taken to Orange hospital by ambulance between April and June.
However, Mr Spurway said the statistics were not a true indication of the workload of Orange paramedics, who are fight for an increase in staffing levels.
“During the day we also have to take patients out to the airport for fixed-wing transports and there are often a couple of those a day,” he said.
“As well, we transport elderly patients from nursing homes to treatment such as X-rays.”
Mr Spurway said critically-ill heart patients transported by ambulance to Orange hospital were not factored in to the statistics.
“We take them straight through to the cardiology unit so they wouldn’t show up in the figures,” he said.
In the same period, ambulance transports to Bathurst hospital were 987 and Dubbo was 1739.