St John’s Ambulance response times on a downward spiral

Record ambulance ramping figures outside our hospitals appear to be having a flow-on effect, with ambulance response times now showing an alarming downward spiral.

For the month of June, only 79% of priority 1 emergency calls were responded to within 15 minutes, well below the 90% response time benchmark.

Priority 2 and 3 cases also fell well short with response times at 67% and 63% respectively.

Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said the shocking figures showed response times were basically falling off a cliff and WA patients were paying the price.

“This is really concerning, but should come as no surprise when we consider the record levels of ambulance ramping outside WA hospitals this year,” Ms Mettam said.

“With ambulances ramped for more than 3713 hours in July and 5295 hours in June, it is obviously going to take those ambulances offline and prevent them from responding to other emergencies in our community.

“This is not a reflection on St John’s ability to deliver the service. The blame lies squarely at the feet of the McGowan Government and its impotent response in managing the current health crisis.

“There aren’t enough beds, there aren’t enough healthcare workers and there is no immediate plan to resolve it.
“Emergency doctors are telling us what many already know – our departments are running on empty – almost at disaster levels with Code Yellows called regularly and yet this government continues to deflect blame and wheel out excuses.”

Ms Mettam said the staggering falls in this benchmark were also concerning given the lack of COVID in the community and the slow uptake of vaccinations in the State.

“The health system can’t cope as it is, any outbreak would be disastrous for a health system that has been run down under the McGowan Government for the past four years.”

Background & references:

*Priority response trends & ramping figures:
St John’s Ambulance Service response times benchmarks:

• Attend to 90 per cent of priority 1 (emergency) calls within 15 minutes
• Attend to 90 per cent of priority 2 (urgent) calls within 25 minutes
• Attend to 90 per cent of priority 3 (non-urgent) calls within 60 minutes