NAPTHINE KEEPS AMBULANCE RESPONSE TIMES HIDDEN
Tim Pallas, Member for Tarneit and Jill Hennessy, Member for Altona, have expressed outrage that the Napthine Government has gagged Ambulance Victoria from publishing figures on a website that would show ambulance response times and provide the community with up-to-date information about how bad the crisis in the ambulance system has become.
The Opposition yesterday asked the Premier in Question Time about the website, which was designed and developed by Ambulance Victoria and ready to go online last year.
“Labor put it to Mr Napthine that not only is he ignoring the crisis in the ambulance system, but now he is keeping the public in the dark about how bad the ambulance crisis really is,” Mr Pallas said.
“The only way the public can find out whether response times have blown out across the state is through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.”
The information contained in the Ambulance Victoria board meeting minutes, obtained under FOI by the Opposition, reveal that the Health Minister was briefed about the website in the middle of 2012, but it has gone nowhere since.
Ms Hennessy said Denis Napthine and Health Minister David Davis had gone out of their way to prevent this data from seeing the light of day because they don’t want to acknowledge the ambulance crisis.
“When asked about this issue in Parliament, Mr Napthine refused to answer why Victorians were being kept in the dark,” Ms Hennessy said.
“If Mr Napthine was so proud of how his government was administering Victoria’s ambulance service, he would simply press the button and get this information online.”
The most recent ambulance response time figures, made available to the Opposition under FOI, show that for each and every ambulance station across metropolitan Melbourne response times have worsened under this government.
Mr Pallas said the failure to publish the website came on top of Ambulance Victoria board meeting minutes that show the Napthine Government has been made well aware that the system was struggling to cope, but has failed to act.
“Mr Napthine and Mr Davis are determined to ignore this problem, but it won’t go away,” Mr Pallas said.
“For weeks now, the Labor Opposition has continued to ask the Premier about problems that have left people waiting in pain for too long and about communities without an ambulance on duty,” Ms Hennessy said
“Now we know that the Napthine Government was well aware of this, with Mr Davis being briefed on the issue as early as August 2012 – nearly one year ago.
“And, it seems, neither Mr Napthine nor Mr Davis have done a thing to remedy the situation, except to stop the public from finding out about it.”