A report into Victoria’s ambulance service failings has been slammed as “too little too late” by families who have lost loved ones or were left waiting for help.
The state’s Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) will be completely overhauled, rebranded and will be now known as Triple Zero Victoria.
Young parents Ashley Walter and Tamika Franklin were forced to make a lifesaving decision last week when their 15-month-old son Lawson stopped breathing in his cot.
The couple called triple zero for an ambulance, but when the call went unanswered, little Lawson’s skin started to turn grey.
So they packed their baby up in the car and drove from their farm in Girgarre, about 85 kilometres northeast of Bendigo, to the nearest hospital about 12 minutes away.
As they walked through the doors to the emergency department, they were still on hold with triple zero and that is when an operator finally answered the phone.
“If we had waited for an ambulance, I think it would’ve been a completely different story,” Ashley told Today.
“At this stage, you can’t rely on the service something needs to change.”
Ashley said it is indescribable having to go through something like that and he wants to see more invested into staff and resources.
“Hopefully the government can understand what families and what people are going through to try and get more operators and more staff into hospitals and more ambulances on the road,” he said.
While young Lawson is almost completely on the mend now, it wasn’t a happy outcome for Swan Hill resident David Edwards and his father, who died after waiting 40 minutes for help that didn’t come.
David told Today changing the name of ESTA to Triple Zero Victoria was like changing the name of the Titanic after it already sank and the overhaul announcement is “ridiculous”.
“The revamp is unimpressive to say the least,” David told Today.
David said the Victorian government’s promises are disappointing and he called for Jaclyn Symes, the attorney-general who oversaw the review into ESTA, to be sacked.
“She was in charge of the old system and now she will be in charge of the new system,” he said.
“So the person who has caused all of this is still in charge of the system. Why hasn’t she been sacked or resigned?
“She’s the one that is at fault. It is all her department. It is all her fault, get rid of her.”