Covid Patients Suffer Massive Wait Times As Ambulances Deal With Surge In Calls

Hospitals fill to capacity

Article heading image for Covid Patients Suffer Massive Wait Times As Ambulances Deal With Surge In Calls

Covid patients have been forced to wait for hours as Adelaide Hospitals and ambulances struggle to cope with the influx of Covid patients.

Ambulances were parked on hospital ramps last night for hours as Covid patients waited for treatment due to an overwhelming number of cases.

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The Adelaide ambulance service was at capacity last night, entering “status white” for nearly five hours with 100 percent of crews occupied with other patients.

This was the cause of massive delays for others requiring the help of paramedics with the ambulance service forced to put cases on backlog.

Adelaide has most recently recorded 742 active cases throughout the state, which has only increased since the borders opened to interstate travellers last month.

Secretary for Ambulance Employees Association, Leah Watkins told the ABC that paramedics are “not coping” with the surge in Covid cases as well as non-Covid related calls.

"For most of last night there were 15 emergency cases unattended. As one was dispatched, another would come in," she said.

Ms Watkins confirmed that three Covid patients were forced to wait in an ambulance for 35 minutes, who were struggling to breathe, while another patient waited three hours for paramedics to arrive.

"They were running out of oxygen, running out of medication in the back of the ambulance,” she said.

A spokesperson for SA Ambulance Service addressed the extended wait times which for some of these cases, should have been a maximum of 16 minutes.

"We recognise the distress that is felt by all when an ambulance does not arrive as quickly as expected," they said.

"SAAS operates a fluid deployment model and will always respond to the sickest patients first, which includes single first responders where appropriate."

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Georgie Marr

23 December 2021

Article by:

Georgie Marr

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