Longer wait for ambulances in Sunbury

New figures reveal that ambulance response times for emergency code one calls to Sunbury blew out from an average of 12 minutes and 51 seconds in the last quarter of 2014 to 14 minutes 27 seconds by the end of last year.

Quarterly data released by Ambulance Victoria (AV) also shows that ambulances arrived within 15 minutes in 68.5 per cent of Sunbury cases – well below its 90 per cent target.

Figures also showed the average waiting time in the Gisborne area fell over the same period, from 13 minutes 25 seconds to 12 minutes 47 seconds.

The opposition accused the state government of failing outer suburban and regional areas, but a spokeswoman for Ambulance Services Minister Jill Hennessy said Labor had taken major steps to repair a system that was in crisis before the last election.

‘‘We’ve invested $99 million to improve ambulance services, ended the industrial war on paramedics, appointed a new board to AV and ended hospital bypasses,’’ she said.

‘‘This hard work and investment is beginning to turn the system around. We’ve seen improved response times for many of our regional cities … but we know we need to do more.’’

‘Plenty of talk …’

Opposition regional health spokeswoman Margaret Fitzherbert told Parliament the government had talked a lot but done little to address ambulance arrival times.

‘‘Before the election, the ALP told us the ambulance system was in crisis. Well, if it was in crisis then what is it now?’’ she said, citing Sunbury as an example of towns where waiting times had lengthened considerably.

Ms Hennessy’s spokeswoman said ‘‘four years of Liberal cuts and crisis’’ couldn’t be fixed overnight.

‘‘We’ve fast-tracked our $60 million response time rescue fund and we’re trialling new and innovative ways of delivering ambulance services to our regional communities,’’ she said.