Ambo's hit back at critics
THE Ambulance Service of NSW has defended their protocols and response times following a boating accident that left two men, one seriously injured, waiting more than 20 minutes for an ambulance.
The incident occurred at Mobbs Bay at South Ballina on December 30, where the two men were hit by the propeller of their boat after they were thrown out of the vessel.
John Wilson, of the Ambulance Service of NSW, said that ‘at no stage was there any confusion on the part of the call takers as to where the accident occurred, nor the locations of the various addresses given by callers’.
“The only confusion came from the conflicting locations given by the various callers about where the patients were being taken by boat to meet the ambulance,” he said.
“However, I would point out that this did not hamper Ambulance’s response to the incident and the first available resource was dispatched in a timely manner as aresult of the first Triple-0 call being received.”
Mr Wilson said that on the day of the incident there were two double-teams rostered on in Ballina and at the time were busy attending to a car accident in Ballina and a patient drop-off in Lismore.
“Ambulance received the first triple-0 call at 3.56pm and the first available resource was dispatched at 4.01pm from Lismore Hospital and arrived on the scene at 4.21pm.
“Given the distance the ambulance had to travel this was an acceptable response time,” he said.
“When the first ambulance arrived they advised a further crew would be required. A second car was dispatched after clearing Ballina Hospital from the Hayman Street incident at 4.25pm, and was on the scene at 4.27pm.”
Pimlico resident Barry Glass rescued the men from the water, while another man made the call to Emergency Services.
After reviewing the triple-0 call tapes Mr Wilson said the first caller to triple-0 stated that he was at Mobbs Bay, South Ballina.
“He saw three people fall from a small boat and someone had yelled out to call triple-0 for an ambulance. He was not sure of how many people were injured, but they had been picked up and taken to a houseboat 50m offshore,” he said.
“Further advice by the caller gave his location as ‘right on the foreshore near the car park’. Hestated he was directly opposite from the sailing club and confirmed that the patients would be brought to him.”
Mr Glass said the man was on the phone to operators for six to seven minutes, with operators still asking for an address, so he took the phone and explained they would meet ambulance officers at the Ballina Sailing Club.
After waiting at the sailing club for 20 minutes Mr Glass said he called the Ballina police and asked them to call local ambulance officers.
Mr Wilson confirmed police also called the service to organise an ambulance for the incident.
Mr Glass said that after calling local police it took another 15 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, despite one of the men bleeding heavily from cuts on his leg, torso and under his arm.
Both injured men were taken to Lismore Base Hospital.