Children like Harriet and Georgia Donaldson are hundreds of kilometres from the nearest paramedic.
Children like Harriet and Georgia Donaldson are hundreds of kilometres from the nearest paramedic.

Emergency help is 'too far away'

ALPHA residents are fuming the nearest full-time paramedics are based about 130km away at Anakie or Barcaldine.

More than 120 residents recently attended a meeting at Alpha which called for a petition that has collected more than 250 signatures.

Alpha’s Judy Acutt, who called the initial meeting, said residents were angry and felt ignored by the State Government. She said the group hoped to send its petition and covering letter to parliament in the next two weeks after another meeting was held.

“Is someone going to have to die before they will listen to us?” she said.

“This spot is the medical base for a 27,000sq km area and they are telling us there is no problem.”

Residents in the neighbouring town of Jericho are suffering the same issues, with the town having a single nurse but no paramedic to operate an ambulance service.

The emergency that brought Alpha’s lack of a permanent ambulance to attention involved an 18-year-old Emerald girl being stung by a wasp while working on a cattle property 60km out of town.

The teenager was staying with the Donaldson family at the time and immediately felt an unusual reaction to the sting.

“She felt dizzy and funny and we have a son who is allergic to wasps so we weren’t going to take any chances,” Donna Donaldson said.

“We drove quickly to a nearby mine camp as that was where the closest paramedic was.

“He told us that she needed to be transported under the watch of a paramedic to hospital but he was unable to leave the site because of work commitments.

“We rang 000 and they got back to us saying there was no ambulance available to come out from Alpha.”

“Eventually the paramedic from the mine had to take her in and the mine site was forced to shut down while he was away.”

The Department of Emergency Services was approached for comment but failed to respond by the time this issue went to print.

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