Victoria's Triple Zero Service Reaches Crisis Point

Demand on the rise

Article heading image for Victoria's Triple Zero Service Reaches Crisis Point

Victoria's ambulance service is under fire for failing to answer emergency callouts, with at least seven out of 10 calls being left in the dark.

The triple-zero service is aligned to have the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority answer a call within five seconds on average, according to the organisation's advisory group.

Many Victorians are finding it difficult to receive a sharp reply in the case of an emergency, with injuries and deaths in recent months linked to the delays.

Health departments have been overstressed by the current Omicron wave ripping through states, resulting in ramping issues in some cities.

Premier Daniel Andrews outlined the situation during a COVID press conference on Tuesday, confirming over 400 ambulance workers were forced to isolate and unable to attend their post through the busy Christmas period.

“We’ve got 420 of them who are at home, who aren’t out on the road because they’ve got this (Covid) or they’re a close contact of someone who has got it,” he said.

“If every time you attend a patient you’ve got to put PPE on, then take PPE off, go through all the infection control … protocols … that adds seconds, minute.

“Plus of course there is a lot of people who are very tired from two hellish years.”


Victorian Ambulance Union General Secretary Danny Hill added that people should consider the seriousness and importance of their situation before calling.

“Some (operators) said 40 to 50 per cent (of calls) were Covid related, but of that only about one-in-five really had anything wrong with them at all,” he told reporters.

“The vast majority were just confused, didn’t know who else to turn to, didn’t know where else to go and just thought I’ll dial triple-0 and are just seeing triple-0 as a one-stop shop for everything, which it isn’t.”

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12 January 2022

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