NSW ambulance.
NSW ambulance. Daily Telegraph

How fast do Clarence ambos get to critical calls?

LESS than half of ambulances called for high-prority cases in the Clarence Valley in the first three months of this year are arriving within 15 minutes of the call being made.

However, for life-threatening cases, they are on average arriving within the allotted time, in under nine minutes.

The figures come from the Bureau of Health Information's quarterly report on ambulance times across the state.

Within our Clarence Valley area there were 2071 incidents over the period, with 2672 responses by ambulances - both an increase over the same time last year of nearly 10 per cent.

For urgent P1 classified cases, which include the patient being unconscious, having breathing problems, chest or neck injury or serious haemorrhage, 48.9 per cent of the ambulances arrived within 15 minutes, a decrease of five per cent from last year.

The report showed 82.4 per cent of the calls were arrived at within 30 minutes, down 3.3 per cent on last year, with the median time being 13.6m for all calls.

For P1a cases, which are classified to be within a median of 10 minutes and responding to cardiac or respiratory arrest, or ineffective breathing, the Clarence's figures are combined with Coffs Harbour due to the low number of incidents.

These figures fall within the prescribed range, with the median time of response being 8.9 minutes, and improvement of 0.8 minutes.

For P2, or urgent cases, for cases such as abdominal pain, the median time for ambulance to arrive was 20.1 minutes, 3.5 minutes longer than the same time last year.

A spokesperson for NSW Ambulance noted response performance to the most life threatening patients remains stable, despite an increase in people calling for an ambulance.

"Evans Head has received an additional enhancement of paramedics with the station now operating 24-hours. Ongoing paramedics enhancements under the SWEP program are planned for the region,” they said.

"In June 2019, the NSW Government announced an unprecedented $27.1 million to employ 221 paramedics and call centre staff (second tranche of record 750 workforce announced last year) to improve response times, reduce paramedic fatigue and support safety.”

In the same quarter, Clarence Valley ambulance conducted 1594 patient transports, also a 10 per cent increase on the same period last year.