South Australia’s ambulance union has expressed concern at the amount of time it took paramedics to reach a scuba diver who died at Encounter Bay near Victor Harbor yesterday. Key points: The 57-year-old man collapsed after emerging from the water on Saturday The Ambulance Employees Association has questioned the time it took to reach the area The SA
It said the man’s death highlighted the stretched resources the service was currently battling.
“There were no ambulances available — all were out on cases. The ambulance should have arrived within eight minutes,” the association said in a statement on social media.
“There were no extra crews at Victor Harbor despite the influx of thousands of holidaymakers.”
The AEA said it had received advice that the patient “might well have been saved” if an ambulance had arrived sooner.
The South Australian Ambulance Service (SAAS) defended the response, saying a MedSTAR crew had been redirected to the scene where police were using a defibrillator on the man.
It said a senior local doctor was also present.
In a statement, SAAS said it understood the distress to all parties during critical care cases “where seconds count”.
The AEA also accused the government of refusing “to properly fund the ambulance service”.
In a statement, Treasurer Rob Lucas said he was aware of a “significant and unusually high surge in demand for crews on the South Coast over a one-and-a-half-hour period yesterday morning”.
“Some of these cases required multiple crews,” he said.
“I am advised crews were dispatched according to SA Ambulance standard operating procedures and it’s concerning the union is trying to link yesterday’s extreme demand, and a tragic loss of life, with an ongoing industrial relations dispute.”
Mr Lucas said the government was “committed to resolving” the dispute “as quickly as possible”.
Police said a report on the man’s death would be prepared for the coroner.
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