THE latest statistics from Ambulance Victoria show that people needing an ambulance in South Gippsland are waiting longer and longer with response time targets continuing to be missed.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said he had been contacted by a number of constituents in recent months who were concerned at how long it is taking ambulances to arrive.

“These anecdotes are now backed up by the data which shows that ambulances for Code 1 cases, that is emergency responses with lights and sirens, are taking on average 21 minutes to arrive in South Gippsland Shire and 17.31 minutes in Wellington Shire,” Mr O’Brien said.

“For South Gippsland just 40 per cent of ambulances arrive in less than 15 minutes and just 57.1 per cent for Wellington Shire.

“I’ve had local paramedics raise their concerns with me over recent months as the workload has increased and the resources are simply not there.

“We are regularly seeing ambulances having to be dispatched from distant towns because there are just not enough ambulances available when needed.”

Mr O’Brien said the Andrews Labor Government can’t just continue making excuses.

“There’s no doubt that there is an increase in demand on our health system and I hate to say it, but this is something I warned of last year as the Government’s prolonged lockdowns continued – that is that people would put off important check-ups and health appointments because of the lockdowns and the fear of COVID.

“These chickens are now coming home to roost as our emergency departments and ambulances are placed under pressure.

“The State Government said it would end the ambulance crisis and stop ramping – that is ambulances having to wait to offload patients at hospitals – but this has clearly not occurred.

“Indeed, the feedback I get from the community and our hard-working paramedics is that things have never been tougher than in recent months.

“It’s up to the Andrews Government to address these issues and ensure that people in the greatest need of an ambulance get it as quickly as possible.”