McLaren Vale patient struggled without an ambulance for over 30 minutes

Unavailable: Ambulances are struggling to service the Fleurieu Peninsula. Photo: Supplied.
Unavailable: Ambulances are struggling to service the Fleurieu Peninsula. Photo: Supplied.

A patient in McLaren Vale has been left struggling to breathe and without an ambulance for over 30 minutes.

On October 28 a patient in McLaren Vale required an ambulance due to breathing difficulties but according to the Ambulance Employees Association, there were no ambulances available for 23 minutes; once an ambulance became available it took a further 11 minutes to reach the patient.

Ambulance Employees Association Industrial Officer, Leah Watkins said ambulance response times are declining.

"We are not meeting response time targets for Priority 1 cases 28% of the time. That's 1 in 4 patients," she said.

"A Priority 1 means an immediately life threatening case. In most cases it means you have failed your primary survey - you are unresponsive, you are not breathing [or] you do not have a pulse.

"1 in 4 people in this state are not getting an ambulance in the necessary time frame of 8 minutes."

Ms Watkins also said that many ambulance crews are working 12 to 13 hours without taking a single break and on Sunday 28th July, 22 crews worked their entire shift without a single break.

"No-one could deny the risk this poses to the safety of ambos and the public alike, when you have crews working that long without a break, driving incredibly long distances."

In a statement provided to On the Coast, Health Minister Stephen Wade said our ambulance service constantly strives to deliver urgent care.

"Last night [Monday, 28], about 75% of Priority 2 cases in the metropolitan area were responded to within the target response time of 16 minutes - that's around 10% below a typical response.

"It is important to remember that the average response times for priority 1 and 2 (our most urgent patients) have been within target for every month since March 2018. While SAAS do an incredible job, target response times are not met in every case - never have been."

This event follows a similar event which occurred on October 16 which left all suburbs south of the CBD without available ambulances.