NSW Sees Increase in Ambulance Fees

NSW Sees Increase in Ambulance Fees

Ambulance transport fees in NSW have seen an increase by almost 40% whereas response times have increased above the 10-minute standard, new Government statistics demonstrate.

The NSW opposition has pounced on the new statistics, putting accusations on the Government of failing to administer hospital emergency processes to permit ambulance crews to offload patients rapidly.

Costs to patients for ambulance transport have risen by 39% from $222 for each trip in 2006/07 to $309 in 2010/11, the opposition says.

Per kilometer charge has crawled up by 38%from $2.01 to $2.79.

"I remain worried that continued fee rise might discourage some patients from calling an ambulance when they really require one", Opposition Health Spokesperson, Jillian Skinner said in a report.

Or worse still, patients may try driving themselves to hospital, putting themselves and other road users at risk.

The standard response time for an ambulance is no less than 10 minutes, the fresh available statistics for July to December 2009 show.

In preceding years, the standard remained below the 10-minute standard, the opposition says.

Ambulances are investing too long in queues at emergency departments waiting to offload patients in its place of being out on the road to respond to emergencies, Ms. Skinner said.