NSW paramedic warns triple-0 calls are a ‘roll of the dice’

A NSW paramedic has claimed calling triple-0 is like ‘rolling the dice’ because the state’s health system is struggling to keep up with demand.

The Shoalhaven paramedic, identified as Gary, told a radio station that hospitals did not have room for every patient and some people were forced to spend hours in the hallways.

“In the wards themselves they have patients in overflow beds in the hallways and they won’t be offloading any ambulances for the foreseeable future and they will treat them on our ambulance stretchers,” the paramedic told 2GB.

When asked what he thinks will happen to someone in need of urgent medical attention who calls triple-0, Gary said it would depend on luck.

“It’s rolling the dice right now – you might have an ambulance available, or you might be waiting an hour,” he said.

He also said his colleagues were often forced to work overtime and cover shifts of up to 3 p.m.

“Our families are suffering because we work so long and work overtime to cover the shortfall that we miss out on time with our families,” he said.

The Health Services Union, which represents paramedics, said Gary’s experience was all too common.

“That’s why we need a comprehensive review of the healthcare system, preferably through a royal commission,” HSU NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes told NCA NewsWire.

“Covid has proven that the healthcare system is under-resourced and needs more funding, but we also need to look at how healthcare resources are being spent and where.

“The hospital system does the heavy lifting for under-resourced aged and disabled care providers, and too many GPs aren’t billing en masse.”

Mr Hayes added that in his view, “special interests are taking more than their fair share of the health funding pie”.

“We need more funding, but we also need to look very closely at how health care money is spent,” he said.

NSW Health has been contacted for comment.

Originally published as New South Wales paramedic warns health system strain makes triple-0 responses to ‘rolling the dice’