AMBULANCES at the Monash Medical Centre spent more than 1000 hours a month waiting for patients to be transferred over to hospital staff last year, hospital figures have shown.
Documents released to the Weekly and obtained under freedom of information reveal ambulances are wasting hours 'ramping' at the Clayton-based hospital.
'Ramping' refers to the time interval from when an ambulance arrives at the hospital's emergency department to when a patient is admitted to a bed.
Monash was found to be second worst in Victoria behind Frankston Hospital for patients arriving by ambulance and being forced to wait longer than 40minutes.
According to figures obtained, Monash recorded 10,246 hours of transfer time [from ambulance hospital stretcher to admission] in 2009-10, with 13,137 hours recorded the following year.
A total of 9116 hours have so far been recorded for the current financial year up until March.
Opposition parliamentary secretary for health Wade Noonan, who obtained the figures under FOI, said the ramping time indicated the Victorian health system was "constantly in gridlock".
Ambulance Employees Australia secretary Steve McGhie said Monash Hospital was notoriously bad for patients languishing on hospital stretchers outside its emergency department.
"It means at Monash ambulance paramedics are waiting to off-load patients for more than 30 hours a day."
Mr McGhie said this meant ambulance officers were held up waiting outside emergency departments and not being able to respond to other emergency callouts.
An increase in hospital beds and staff, and better access to health services would go some way to lessening the pressure on emergency departments, he said.
Releasing the Victorian Health Services Performance Report for the three months to the end of December last week, Health Minister David Davis said the time to treatment for Monash Hospital patients in categories 2 to 5 had improved on the same period a year earlier.
The report states that the hospital admitted 24,633 patients in the three months to the end of December - up from 23,954 for the same period in 2010.
The figures show 67.3 per cent of ambulance patients were transferred into Monash hospital within 40 minutes of arrival - up on 61.9per cent in the previous three months.
Southern Health spokeswoman Suzana Talevski said it was continuing to work with Ambulance Victoria and the Department of Health to make off-load times more efficient. "The data reflects that Monash Medical Centre has significantly reduced its ambulance waiting times. It should also be noted that all category 1 patients are treated immediately without delay."