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CODE ORANGE: Paramedics pushed to the brink, ambulance boss warns worst is yet to come

Neil Mitchell
Article image for CODE ORANGE: Paramedics pushed to the brink, ambulance boss warns worst is yet to come

Victoria’s ambulance service came close to declaring a ‘code red’ on Saturday night, and the CEO of Ambulance Victoria has warned demand is only expected to rise further.

A ‘code red’ is called when there are lights and sirens patients left waiting because there are no ambulances available to dispatch.

They’re usually only called when there’s a major natural disaster or thunderstorm asthma event.

CEO of Ambulance Victoria, Professor Tony Walker, says the entire health system is “under inordinate pressure”.

“We’ve been in a ‘code orange’, which is an escalation event, probably five or six times in the last two to three weeks,” he told Neil Mitchell.

He says it’s “likely” a ‘code red’ event will be called in coming weeks or months.

“We expect December will be even busier,” Professor Walker said.

Paramedics have activated their surge workforce in recent weeks, with Ambulance Victoria turning to student paramedics to run about 30 additional crews per day.

On Friday, Health Minister Martin Foley announced a $307 million boost to free up capacity for hospitals and paramedics as they deal with increased demand due to a surge in COVID-19 patients.

Press PLAY below to hear Ambulance Victoria CEO Tony Walker

Neil Mitchell
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