AN elderly Marian-Eton Road woman was suffering excruciating pain on Monday morning and waited 70 minutes for an ambulance to arrive – the same day Greg van Moolenbroek died when it took an ambulance 75 minutes to reach his Devereux Creek property.
Member for Mirani Ted Malone wants a full and open inquiry into the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) call centre operation, now based in Rockhampton after the Mackay call centre was amalgamated with Rockhampton in 2004.
Mr Malone is also urging anyone in the community who has experienced a “close call” with QAS to contact him.
“There’s something seriously wrong and we need to get it sorted out before any more lives are lost,” Mr Malone said.
“Greg van Moolenbroek died waiting for help – it seems the ambulance got lost as they were looking for a house, not a block of land. The ambulance was dispatched from the call centre in Rockhampton as a Code 2A, not Code 1 (a full emergency response) as it should have been for what was a life-threatening incident.
“On the same day an elderly woman waited for 70 minutes in excruciating pain for help... and again apparently because the ambulance was lost.”
Mr Malone said the region had grown and there was a need for an ambulance unit to be based at Walkerston but the QAS communication system needed to be fixed.
“We could or should have an ambulance unit based in every town but at the end of the day if units are getting lost then it doesn’t matter if they are coming from Walkerston or Mackay,” he said.
“Every death that occurs as a result of ambulances going to the wrong address, getting lost and taking too long to get to patients is not only a tragedy for families and friends and but also for hard-working, dedicated paramedics who are fed up with the system failures.”
Mr Malone said problems with the QAS dispatch system were widespread and needed to be addressed properly by the Emergency Services minister.
“Lives are being lost and people who pay their ambulance levy with every electricity bill are kept waiting in pain because of communication and dispatch errors,” he said.
“We need a full and open inquiry into the QAS dispatch system – after all the tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money that have been spent, people deserve to know why these basic dispatch failures keep happening.”
Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said QAS promised a full and thorough investigation into the death of Mr van Moolenbroek and the investigation should be allowed to take its course.
“I offer my sincere condolences to the family and assure them that a full and thorough investigation will be undertaken,” he said.
“The matter has been referred to the Coroner, the CMC and the Health Quality and Complaints Commission. QAS ethical standards unit is conducting a thorough investigation into the incident.”
Contact Ted Malone
Phone: (07) 4956 1555
Office address: 33A Central Street, Sarina
Postal address: PO Box 56, Sarina, Qld 4737
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