AMBULANCE response times for code one incidents have improved in every Wimmera municipality in the past year.
Ambulance Victoria data shows critical incident response times in Horsham and Ararat rural cities, and West Wimmera, Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack and Northern Grampians shires were quicker in the three months from October to December 2017 than the same period in 2016.
Yarriambiack and Ararat response times improved the most, by about two and a half minutes each.
However Horsham, Ararat and Northern Grampians response times from October to December 2017 were slower than the previous quarter.
Ambulance Employees Association Victoria secretary Steve McGhie said an increase in case load in the latter two municipalities likely had some effect on the times.
“What that would suggest is that there’s got to be a greater concentration on whether there needs to be additional resources there,” he said.
“Generally speaking the times are terrific and there’s been general improvement overall.
“With the changes to the dispatch grid in 2016, emergency crews have had a greater availability to respond to real emergencies, because they are not being utilised on less urgent jobs.
“We were seeing paramedics on non-urgent jobs, and then a serious medical emergency comes in and they couldn't get there quick enough because they were held up on the previous case.
“Where it's deemed to be non-urgent, paramedics are now able to use other resources, whether that be locum services, non-emergency patient transport companies, or referral back to doctors, which is freeing up ambulance crews.”
Mr McGhie said this had led to a vast improvement in ambulance response times across the state.
“That will have a direct outcome on more patient lives being saved,” he said.
“The turnaround in all this is because the government and Ambulance Victoria are working closely and communicating with paramedics.
“There is still a lot of work to be done and improvement to come, but we are definitely heading in the right direction.”