5 days into the new Forster Station (located in Tuncurry) opening, it was closed due to lack of staff. So instead of the 2 ambulances as promised, Forster, Tuncurry, Hallidays, Red Head, Black Head, Coomba Park, Green Point, Blueys and Elizabeth Beaches had 1 ambulance on shift in Tuncurry......
To: Stephen Bromhead, Member for Myall Lakes
PROTECT OUR PARAMEDICS
Recently, the NSW Government announced that they would build a new Forster Ambulance Station.
Instead, the NSW Government has taken the cheapest option and is placing the new Forster Station paramedics in a temporary tin shed in TUNCURRY. This is due to lack of forward planning. The NSW Government have not even purchased a block to build a new Forster Station!
Paramedics are demanding that their safety and the safety of the Forster Tuncurry community be put ahead of concerns over budget and place the new Forster paramedics in a more appropriate building, such as the former Mid Coast Water building in Forster.
Prior to 26 June 2021, our community was serviced by:
• 3 ambulances during the day (2 on shift and 1 on call)
• 3 ambulances at night (1 on shift and 2 on call)
NSW Ambulance has announced an “enhancement” until a review in 2026, that will redistribute ambulance crews (with no on call ambulances) to:
• 3 ambulances during the day
• 1 ambulance during the afternoon and
• Only 2 at night
Where is the enhancement? Our community will actually have less resources at night! The redistribution means we have no on call surge capacity to respond to the most serious of emergencies like the recent fatal shark attack in Tuncurry!
During the new Forster Station announcement, we were told that the new station would “enhance access to emergency health care”.
When 23,000 cars cross the bridge every day, how can the enhancement be realised if the Forster Tuncurry bridge is blocked due to a motor vehicle accident or poor traffic flow? The only available detour takes two hours!
It would cost NSW Health just $18 000 per annum to have two Paramedics on standby each night – a safety net that would save lives.
With an ageing population and ever-increasing emergency workload, the penny pinching of the Health Minister is flat-out dangerous.
Help us demand what the Forster Tuncurry community needs! Please sign and share the petition.
Why is this important?
WE NEED MORE PARAMEDICS IN FOSTER TUNCURRY!
In Jan-March 2021, in the Great Lakes region, the number of all Ambulance responses increased by 23.2% when compared to the same quarter the previous year (per Bureau of Health information). Concerningly, emergency priority 1 responses went up 21.6% and the highest response 1A (cardiac arrest) went up 52%. Coupled with the fact that NSWA have the lowest survival rate of cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in the nation (NSW at 38% vs 45.5% Australian average) and Forster Tuncurry have one of the highest aging populations in the state – the situation we are currently in is grave.
Unfortunately, while NSW Ambulance are adding more staff to the Forster Tuncurry Ambulance Stations to replace the on call shifts, they are also enforcing a change to the roster that will reduce the number of ambulances that are available to the Forster Tuncurry community overall.
Currently, our roster produces three ambulances during the day and three at night. The roster change by NSW Ambulance now produces three ambulances during the day, one ambulance during the afternoon, and only two ambulances at night.
Importantly, all of these cars will be ‘on duty’, not ‘on call’. This means that they are far more likely to be used for low acuity work, like inter-hospital transfers. Consequently, they are far less likely to remain in town than an ‘on call’ crew, who are only responded in the case of urgent work.
There are multiple examples of single paramedics and zero paramedics rostered on at Tuncurry on a night shift. The latest being on the 27 April 2021 – there was no night crew to respond to cases in Forster Tuncurry. All the work was covered by on call crews, including the fatal shark attack in May.
This is simply unacceptable and unsafe and our communities are being neglected due to under resourcing.
NSW Ambulance are also placing the new Foster Paramedics in a tin shed - a council owned building in Manning Lane TUNCURRY. This tin shed has no showers, currently no undercover area for ambulance restocking or parking, no security lighting, no automated security gates and is simply not for for purpose.