Greens call for increase in ambulance services in Lower Clarence area

Greens MP and Health spokesperson, Dawn Walker has called for an increase in ambulance services in the lower Clarence area following a serious incident involving an Iluka resident who bled for approximately 10 hours before receiving emergency surgery for a brain aneurysm.

“I’m very concerned to hear the story of Kerren Heilpern who waited for nearly one hour for an ambulance to arrive to take her from her home in Iluka to Maclean Hospital, and then another three hours to be transferred from Maclean Hospital to Grafton Hospital, before finally being transferred to Southport in QLD for surgery.

“These delays are the latest example of the insufficient ambulance services in the lower Clarence region, which are putting residents and tourists at risk and causing paramedic fatigue. “I’m particularly concerned about the lack of emergency services in Iluka with its ageing population and 30km distance from the nearest hospital at Maclean, and support calls of the Iluka Ratepayers Association for a local ambulance station.

“A three hour wait at Maclean Hospital for an ambulance is totally unacceptable and demonstrates that emergency services are stretched beyond capacity in this growing region. “NSW Ambulance needs to urgently review the need for additional ambulance services at Maclean, as the current ambulance is frequently out of the area transporting critically ill patients to Lismore Base Hospital or even over the border to Queensland.

“This means that the Maclean ambulance can be away from the area for four or five hours at a time, which is putting patient’s lives at risks, as demonstrated by Ms Heilpern’s case.

“While there have been new paramedics recently employed in the area, it’s not good enough for the Liberal-National Government to pretend that this will improve front-line service delivery for the local community when there is still only one ambulance crew operating out of the Maclean Ambulance station” said Dawn Walker.

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