Healthcare workers are being stretched unnecessarily with a high number of calls to triple-0 ambulances coming from people who weren’t suffering an emergency at all.

The massive demand for paramedics forced Ambulance Victoria to last night order a ‘code red’ warning, with lengthy delays for ambulances as a result of rising Covid cases.

One in five calls to triple-0 did not need an ambulance, despite callers claiming their incident was an emergency.

Healthcare workers are being stretched unnecessarily with a high number of calls to triple-0 ambulances coming from people who don't require urgent attention (pictured, an ambulance in Victoria)

Healthcare workers are being stretched unnecessarily with a high number of calls to triple-0 ambulances coming from people who don't require urgent attention (pictured, an ambulance in Victoria)

Healthcare workers are being stretched unnecessarily with a high number of calls to triple-0 ambulances coming from people who don’t require urgent attention (pictured, an ambulance in Victoria)

The burden on healthcare workers caused by the unprecedented case numbers from the Omicron variant led the Victorian Department of Health to remind people to only call triple-0 in an emergency. 

‘What we are seeing is people contacting Ambulance Victoria to ask for adive on PCR testing sites, where they can rapid antigen tests… (or when) looking for advice when they’re low acuity patients, so they’re not the most serious,’ Ambulance Victoria boss Libby Murphy said.  

‘We understand that people are anxious about this, but we really do want you to save 000 for emergencies.’ 

The ‘code red’ warning was initiated for the Melbourne metropolitan area at 12am on Wednesday.

‘It is likely there will be a delay in an ambulance reaching you,’ the warning message read. 

The ‘code red’ remained in place until about 3am on Wednesday.

The massive demand for paramedics forced Ambulance Victoria to last night order a 'code red' warning, with lengthy delays for ambulances as a result of rising Covid cases (pictured, an ambulance in the Yarra Ranges)

The massive demand for paramedics forced Ambulance Victoria to last night order a 'code red' warning, with lengthy delays for ambulances as a result of rising Covid cases (pictured, an ambulance in the Yarra Ranges)

The massive demand for paramedics forced Ambulance Victoria to last night order a ‘code red’ warning, with lengthy delays for ambulances as a result of rising Covid cases (pictured, an ambulance in the Yarra Ranges)

Ms Murphy said despite the warning, paramedics were still able to care for patients most in need of treatment. 

The situation has been made even more difficult with 500 staff currently isolating due to positive results or close contacts.

They’ve also turned to St John Ambulance, State Emergency Services, Lifesaving Victoria and the Country Fire Authority to drive ambulances while paramedics are sent to hospitals to assist patient offloading.

London instituted a similar scheme during the pandemic to handle huge case numbers.

Ambulance Victoria has urged people concerned with their health to first call the Nurse On Call helpline, funded by the government, with only true emergencies to go through Triple-0. 

The situation has been made even more difficult with 500 staff currently isolating due to positive results or close contacts

The situation has been made even more difficult with 500 staff currently isolating due to positive results or close contacts

The situation has been made even more difficult with 500 staff currently isolating due to positive results or close contacts

Ms Murphy said she’s confident the staff currently on the road would be able to meet skyrocketing cases. 

‘We will continue to roster to demand, and I’m very, very hopeful that with rapid antigen testing, we will be able to get at least that 50 per cent of our workforce back and manage the risk as much as we possibly can,’ she said.

‘We go to ‘code red’ under an emergency response plan, so it’s not ideal, but it certainly allows us to actually treat the patients with the greatest need, and the greatest risk at the time that they need the treatment.’

Victoria’s Acting Premier said there were ‘unprecedented challenges’ ahead of the state’s healthcare system. 

‘Code red circumstances do happen from time to time both as a consequence of the pandemic but indeed other events, either natural disasters or other events that are going on in the community at that given time,’ Jacinta Allen said.

‘But there’s no doubt that our health system – our community as a whole – is facing some really challenging and, indeed, unprecedented challenges as a consequence of the Omicron virus.’

Source: Daily Mail

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