THE St John Ambulance’s (SJA) National Capital District-Central service has been constantly stretched to the extent where serious emergencies have to be prioritised, says chief executive officer Matt Cannon.
“We are seeing sustained high demand now,” he said
“It suggests more resources are needed to manage this demand and keep lifesaving services available to the public.”
The ambulance has reached its current status Red, due to very high demand from a mixture of respiratory, trauma and medical cases, Cannon said.
“A red escalation indicates that we are experiencing severe impact on normal operations due to extreme workload or demand or a major incident that requires more than four transport ambulances.”
Cannon added that during the busiest periods, patients with serious emergencies had to wait for hours before the ambulance crew arrived.
The operation centres will now focus on high priority incidents.
“Dispatches are now prioritising cases in NCD over cases in Central,” he said.
Cannon said out of the six ambulances on duty in Southern region, NCDC had funded five so the priority would be given to NCD cases.
“Unfortunately this means there is only one ambulance available to respond to three emergencies in Central right now which are several hundred kilometres apart,” he said.
“The expected wait for these patients will be many hours.”
Cannon said that more ambulance crews and staff would be needed to cater for the high demand.
“NCD needs three more ambulance crews,” he said.
“Central needs two more crews (18 more staff) to meet the demand.
“SJA does need more ambulance vehicles in NCD, but the key issue here is the need for more staff in NCD and Central.”
The National / PNG Health News
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