There are concerns Merimbula paramedics will be under increasing pressure when Pambula Hospital changes its emergency service to a nurse-led emergency department.
Local Health Services Union (HSU) delegate Chris Branson said there were a number of issues relating to the changes.
“Our members are concerned that the reduction in emergency services at Pambula Hospital will increase our workload when we don’t have enough paramedics for the current workload,” Mr Branson said.
The News Weekly understands it is common for ambulance crews from adjacent towns to regularly provide emergency services in and around Merimbula.
“If you reduce an emergency service from one place those needs don’t just disappear. That emergency requirement will naturally remain and other services will have to deal with it,” Mr Branson said.
If you reduce an emergency service from one place those needs don’t just disappear.- HSU delegate Chris Branson
He believes that this workload will fall on paramedics, who will be required to transport more patients to Bega Hospital. The consequence of this will be longer periods of local ambulances being out of town, Mr Branson explained.
Mr Branson said the Merimbula station was the busiest ambulance station in the Bega Valley Shire.
However, Mr Branson was adamant that when people believe they need an emergency ambulance service they should not hesitate to call Triple-0 (000) and ask for an ambulance.
Merimbula station has six full-time equivalent paramedics and operates 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Typically there are between two and three paramedics on duty at any one time with another two paramedics on call overnight.
The changes to Pambula Hospital’s emergency service follow lengthy negotiations between the Southern NSW Local Health District and the Pambula Health Service Community Engagement Committee. Doctors will no longer be available and Pambula will provide a nurse-led service to treat minor illnesses.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.