The Mirror News

Patient transfer faces tyranny of distance

AFTER nine years based at Foster, the vehicle handling the non-emergency transfer of South Gippsland patients moves this week to Wonthaggi.

The vehicle transfers non-emergency patients between local hospitals and medical centres and larger hospitals, generally in Dandenong or Melbourne.

It services an area encompassing Korumburra to Yarram and down to Wonthaggi and Phillip Island, but according to Ambulance Victoria the majority of calls for the vehicle originate in the Wonthaggi area.

The manager of non-emergency service operations at Ambulance Victoria, Alan Pegg, said basing the vehicle at Wonthaggi is being done in the interests of efficiency.

“The majority of patients are in the Bass Coast area,” said Mr Pegg, insisting that Wonthaggi is the best place to base the vehicle, even though a patient transfer service is already provided out of that town by a private contractor.

Mr Pegg said a study of the workload in the South Gippsland area had shown that the most efficient place for the vehicle to be based – out of Korumburra, Leongatha, Foster, Yarram, Cowes or Wonthaggi – is Wonthaggi.

“We’ve considered all the options,” he said.

He acknowledged that Yarram, in particular, is a long way from Wonthaggi, but said that Yarram rarely needed the vehicle, and he pointed out that Ambulance Victoria has additional non-emergency patient transfer vehicles in the La Trobe Valley and East Gippsland which can be used if required.

“We’re trying to reduce travel time. Basing the vehicle in Wonthaggi should reduce the amount of empty kilometres the vehicle has to travel,” said Mr Pegg.


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