AMBULANCE Victoria has hit back at claims by the state opposition that it is failing to respond to life-threatening emergencies within targeted response times.
Recent figures obtained by the opposition show that in 2011, ambulance response times in Waverley and Syndal were about a minute and a half longer than in the 2009-10 financial year.
South Eastern Metropolitan Region MP Lee Tarlamis criticised the delays and said lives were being put at risk.
"These figures reveal that ambulances are taking longer to reach car accidents and heart attack victims in need of life-saving assistance.
"Every minute counts when it comes to ambulance response times.
'The Baillieu government should stop blaming others for their failings and get on with the job of providing an effective ambulance service for the people of Victoria."
Ambulance Victoria transported 639,735 people to hospital in 2010-11, up from 616,982 in the previous financial year. About 1750 patients are taken to hospital every day.
Ambulance Victoria's acting regional manager,metro east Andrew Watson said response times weren't the only measure of ambulance services.
"Response times can be affected by many factors including traffic, road and weather conditions, distance required to travel, demand for ambulance services, hospital transfer times and availability of crews," he said. "We continue to see improvements in the more important measures of whether people live or die, and the quality of their life, for cardiac arrest, heart attack, stroke and head trauma patients."
Ambulance Union secretary Steve McGhie disagreed.
"I don't understand Ambulance Victoria's response that it's got to do with weather and distance because that's the same every year.
"Clearly, their demand's increased but that's been happening for the past 10 years.
"When you look at the response times, on average they're blowing out by an additional one to two minutes. That's a real concern because it means they're going in the wrong direction. There's only a couple of reasons for that — either there's not enough ambulance resources on the ground or the demand's too high for the amount of resources that's been allocated by the government."
At the most recent state election, the Baillieu government promised a $151 million plan to get 310 more paramedics and 30 patient transfer officers by 2015.
Mr McGhie said this was "nowhere near enough".
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