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Georgina Wild died alone from a suspected heart attack while waiting two-and-a-half hours for an ambulance to arrive.
A message was left on her answering machine by the St John Ambulance call centre, but she had already died.
The grandmother called triple zero at 2.30am Sunday complaining of chest pains.
The job was flagged as Priority 1, meaning an ambulance should arrive within 15 minutes.
Half an hour later, the call centre rang her for a welfare check, while advising there were no ambulances available.
She was told the same at 3.30am.
Then at 4am, she didn’t answer.
A message left on her answering machine from the St John Ambulance call centre said they were “just calling to check in”.
Almost two-and-a-half hours after she raised the alarm, an ambulance finally arrived.
When paramedics entered the Ashby home, in Perth’s north, they found the grandmother on her couch, her television still on and the front door unlocked.
She was declared dead from a suspected heart attack.
“In a state as wealthy as WA it’s completely unacceptable, shocking and tragic,” oppositional leader Mia Davies said.
Her family is demanding answers.
St John Ambulance warned of delays to triple zero calls due to high demand and COVID-sparked crew shortages of 20 per cent.
A third of Priority 1 patients were forced to wait more than 15 minutes for help.
A United Workers Union survey of paramedics conducted in early February — just as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was taking off — found 76 per cent weren’t confident of maintaining adequate service, and 92 per cent had no confidence in the CEO.
They called for ambulances to become state-run.
One paramedic said: “I’m ashamed of the organisation and I fear for the public and my family.”
St John Ambulance CEO Michelle Fyfe said the organisation was doing everything it could, with all resources on the front line.
“Sometimes words are not enough,” she said.
“There are no words that can make this better. There are no words.”
Fiona Scanlon from the United Workers Union said St John Ambulance made a nearly $32 million profit in 2021.
“They needed to put their hand in their pocket months ago and make sure the appropriate staff numbers were on board,” Scanlon said.
Wild’s death came as COVID-19 hospitalisations exceeded 300 for the first time.
Doctors are predicting the health system will crumble in the next two weeks.