THE Korumburra Ambulance Station will not be manned 24-hours a day with Ambulance Victoria blaming an ‘internal reporting error’. Originally, Ambulance Victoria stated that the newly built $900,000 station had been earmarked to become operational 24 hours a day between January 1 and March 31, 2014.
Local paramedics were set to come off an ‘on call roster’, with paramedics rostered at the station across the 24 hours. However, the station will now operate 24 hours a day with two paramedics, both of who will be on call overnight. Ambulance Victoria regional manager Mick Stephenson said the increase to two paramedics per shift is a significant improvement to the services and will result in more timely and efficient paramedic care and transport of patients to hospital. “This is consistent with the funding promised and being provided by the government as part of a $151 million commitment,” he said. “Ambulance Victoria’s previous advice regarding the roster configuration at Korumburra was incorrect and resulted from an internal reporting error. “However, as we do with all on-call branches, across the state, we will monitor out-of-hours workload to determine whether 24-hour on-shift roster coverage is required in future.”
Korumburra Ambulance Station team manager Ben Minchin said it is a disappointing outcome for the local community and local paramedics. “Unfortunately for unknown reasons the Korumburra Ambulance Station won’t be funded for a 24-hour station with no on-call,” he said. “We initially thought that was going to happen but at present I have been informed that it will be continuing as an eight day on six day off with call station. “There will now be two officers on call which really does provide a better service for the community, but it is not the best service that we can provide.” According to Mr Minchin he received a phone call recently to say that the dates were being brought forward and “we would be going 24 hours in December”. “A week later we were told by the government that it hasn’t been funded,” he said. “It is the final decision, that’s what we are getting and we can’t change it.” Mr Minchin says the community deserve answers. “They were promised that someone was going to be here 24 hours a day and now we have to inform people as they ask,” he said. “It is embarrassing because we have promised them something and we are not going to do it. “At the end of the day the government needs to stand up and answer questions and say this is why you are not getting the service that was promised.
“For the community, we still have a fantastic facility and a dedicated staff and we will continue to make the best out of a bad situation.” As a result of the increase to two paramedics per vehicle, the Korumburra Ambulance Station will receive four new team members. “The four new paramedics will start at Korumburra on December 23. Three paramedics have been sourced from the local area, because a lot of people from the metropolitan area are not interested in working on call,” he said. “As of a result of going on call we have four more workers which is an increase in paramedics to the area. Being on call means they have to live in the town of surrounding area which is great for the community as we have four more contributing members to the town.” The increase to two paramedics per car will also make treating patients more efficient. “There will be two people to an ambulance instead of one which makes it a lot easier,” Mr Minchin said. “We can have one person driving while the other treats the patient. When it is just one paramedic you can be really under pressure. This means two sets of hands and two heads which is always better than one.” Korumburra paramedics will now continue their eight day on six day off on call roster.
Lodges help ambulance
A WOODEN rocking horse has raised more than $500 for the Korumburra Ambulance Station after the Kongwak and Outtrim Lodges donated proceeds from a raffle to the local emergency service. The handcrafted horse was donated to the lodges who decided to hold a raffle and donate the takings of $260. The Board of Benevolence from the Freemasons of Victoria decided to match the raffle money, also donating $260. The cheques totalling $520 were presented to Korumburra Ambulance Station team manager Ben Minchin last Wednesday afternoon. Mr Minchin said the donation would be used toward purchasing more training aids for the station, particularly mannequins which can cost up to $17,000 each. “They are not just your normal CPR mannequins, these ones are training aids which can be used for IV cannulation training, defibrillator and other training purposes,” he said.