Plan to boost ambulance drop-offs

ONE in three ambulances wait longer than half an hour to drop patients in hospital because there is not enough space inside, the Auditor-General has found.

The NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, released a plan to overhaul the service on Tuesday.

Ambulances will no longer transport non-urgent patients, and some trips will be outsourced to private providers. More paramedics using cars will be introduced.

Mrs Skinner said assessment units and patient-flow systems would also help prevent blockages.

But the Labor health spokesman, Andrew McDonald, said bed shortages meant the problem would persist.

The report found that last year the government added only 30 beds usually used for patient admissions from emergency.

"Yet again we have a report that says in black and white that we have issues, and a minister who says she will fix it or she has fixed it, and then doesn't release figures backing that up," he said.

The secretary of the NSW Health Services Union, Gerard Hayes, said the plan was a cop-out.

"Anything can happen at any time, and that's why people call ambulances and not taxis,'' he said.

The story Plan to boost ambulance drop-offs first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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