Rob Wright

Cutting ambos won’t hurt patient care: Minister

STATE Health Minister Jillian Skinner has been forced to defend a cost-cutting proposal to allow single-crew ambulance cars to transport patients to hospital during her visit to the Northern Rivers today.

The new proposal will allow single-crew ambulance cars currently in use to transport willing and able patients.

Ms Skinner said such cars were staffed by senior paramedics and often first on scene, but currently unable to transport any patients, even those with light injuries.

She stressed that the move would enable a more efficient use of resources without compromising patient care.

Yet in separate statements, both Shadow Minister for Health Andrew McDonald and Health Services Union secretary Gerard Hayes have attacked the move.

Both men have painted it as a dangerous policy, with Mr Hayes warning it will 'cost lives'.

Mr Hayes also labelled the proposal as a backflip by Ms Skinner, since in 2010 she called a similar proposal by then Labor Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt as "one of the dumbest".

But Ms Skinner described the criticisms as 'troublemaking', and likened the comparison between the two policies as comparing 'apples and oranges'.

She said while the 2010 proposal would have seen fully-equipped ambulances reduced to a crew of one, the current move would simply extend the abilities of already deployed single-crew ambulance cars.



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