Rebuilding Our Health And Ambulance Systems After Four Years Of Liberal Neglect

01 February 2016

Victoria was the only state in the country to improve ambulance response times in 2014-15, the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services has revealed.

Last year, the Report awarded the former Victorian Liberal Government the disgraceful title of having the worst ambulance response times on the Australian mainland.

Victoria no longer holds that unenviable position and was the only state to improve on all response time measures. Every other state went backwards.

In 2013-14, under the Liberals, one in ten ambulances took more than 22.4 minutes to respond to a Code One emergency. In 2014-15, following six months of hard work by the Andrews Labor Government to end the crisis the Liberals left behind, this measure improved by 18 seconds.

This improvement in Code One response times comes despite Victorian paramedics having to respond to more than 24,000 extra emergency and urgent incidents in 2014-15.

The Report comes as the latest performance data released today confirms our $2.1 billion investment in health is beginning to deliver results, with improvements in ambulance response time and across the board in hospital emergency department performance.

The data for the December 2015 quarter shows ambulance response times continue to improve with a 16 second reduction in average response times compared to the same period under the former Liberal Government in 2014.

There has also been an eight second improvement in Code One average response times, as compared to the previous quarter, despite an increase in the number of call outs.

Patients requiring urgent, life-saving treatment are also being seen faster, with more patients receiving care in our emergency departments within the recommended timeframes compared to the previous quarter, and this time last year.

More patients are returning home within four hours, and eight minutes have been shaved off the waiting time for the 10 per cent longest waiting patients in emergency – despite having the highest ever number of emergency presentations and admissions.

While more patients received surgery compared to this quarter last year, there are still too many patients waiting for elective surgery as demand on our hospitals continues to increase – and this is only going to get worse if Malcolm Turnbull proceeds with his brutal plan to rip $17.7 billion from our hospitals over the next ten years.

There is still more work to be done to meet community expectations and targets, but these improvements reflect the significant action and investment taken by the Labor Government to rebuild our health and ambulance systems after four years of crisis and neglect under the former Liberal Government.

Since coming to office we’ve:

  • Ended the long-running industrial dispute with paramedics
  • Appointed a new board of Ambulance Victoria
  • Released previously secret data about ambulance response time and hospital performance
  • Invested $1.38 billion in extra funding to support Victoria’s hospitals to meet increasing demand and improve and expand services
  • Invested $560 million in funding to expand and redevelop hospitals and established a $200 million Beds Rescue Fund to increase hospital capacity
  • Provided a $60 million elective surgery boost with a new focus on the most complex cases
  • Invested $99 million to improve ambulance services across the state, upgrade ambulance stations, equipment and vehicles and expand counselling services available to paramedics
  • Ended hospital bypass
  • Released the Ambulance Performance and Policy Consultative Committee’s Ambulance Action Plan, and fast-tracked our $60 million Response Time Rescue Fund to improve response times sooner
  • Commenced work on state-wide reforms to change the way care is delivered, with a focus on innovation through Better Care Victoria

We will continue to work hard to rebuild our health system to fix the problems the Liberals left behind, and will continue to take the fight up to Malcolm Turnbull to reverse his $17.7 billion cut to our hospitals.

The Victorian Health Services Performance Report is available at Link

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“While every other state on the mainland is going backwards, we’re investing to improve Victoria’s ambulance response times and rebuild our ambulance system.”

“After four years of cuts and neglect under the former Liberal Government, we are finally starting to see improvements with more patients being treated faster – but we know we have more to do.”

“While we’re working to rebuild our health system, Malcolm Turnbull’s $17.7 billion cuts will hit our hospitals and patients hard. It’s time he stopped the cuts and cost-shifting and funded his fair share.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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