Transport Minister Ben Carroll encourages Victorians to only use triple-0 in emergencies amid ambulance shortages
A Victorian government minister has attempted to partially blame the public for the state’s ambulance crisis amid another code red declaration.
Transport Minister Ben Carroll made the comments on Wednesday morning, more than 24 hours after Melburnians were left with no available ambulances.
“We’ve always got to do more but we’re asking Victorians to be on the journey with us,” he said.
“We are putting more paramedics on the beat but we also need Victorians to ensure they only call triple-0 for those emergencies.”
Mr Carroll went on to encourage Victorians to ensure they’re up to date with vaccinations throughout the winter months.
“We are going through a difficult time with influenza, the winter months (and) Covid,” he said.
“It’s incumbent on all Victorians to do everything they can to have an outdoor lifestyle, be triple vaxxed, have your flu shot.”
Mr Carroll also said an Ambulance Victoria spokesperson was expected to front the media on Wednesday to explain the code red, which involves people being told not call an ambulance unless they are in a serious emergency and instead make their own way to hospital.
“I understand Ambulance Victoria going to be doing some media later today, and they’ll be able to go into some of those specifics,” he said.
“But I do know it is a difficult time. The current code red was only for a period of time (then) it was rectified.”
Melburnians were advised to contact nurses on call for medical assistance.
Ambulance Victoria acting chief executive Libby Murphy echoed Mr Carroll’s sentiment, saying Victorians should only call triple-0 in emergencies.
“We’ve had people ringing saying that they’ve had their zipper stuck or could we please bring them a RAT (rapid antigen test),” she told 3AW.
“I don’t think that’s what ambulances are needed for. Please use the Telehealth systems that are available to you.
“We are there to meet the demands of ambulance in the community and we want to get to the right patients with the right service at the right time.”
An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said the latest code red was put in place due to a severely limited number of ambulances available across Melbourne.
“The situation was able to be resolved, with services returning to normal within four hours,” she said.
“We thank the community for helping us save triple-0 for emergencies.”
More than 146 Ambulance Victoria staff were unable to work on Monday due to having Covid or caring for family or friends with the virus.
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