Ambo response times under scrutiny after death of Trish Nield

Trish Nield
Trish Nield

The death of Daylesford woman Trish Nield has thrown ambulance response times under the spotlight after it took 45 minutes for paramedics to reach her when she hit her head last month.

New figures released this week showed more than two-thirds of ambulances took longer than 15 minutes to arrive at Code 1 “lights and sirens” emergencies in July to September across the Hepburn Shire.

The average response time for paramedics in Hepburn was 20 minutes and one second, which was slower than the statewide average of 12 minutes and 14 seconds.

However, response times have improved. Up to 31.6 per cent of ambulances arrived within 15 minutes compared to 26.9 per cent in the same three-month period in Hepburn last year.

“Areas such as Hepburn have a relatively small population and large geographic area … this can mean greater distances for ambulances to travel,” Ambulance Victoria acting regional director Chris James said.

“We know, however, that more needs to be done to meet community expectations and are committed to continued improvement.

“At the start of the year, we added an extra ambulance crew to Creswick every day and put on an additional paramedic single responder unit in the area to further support response into Hepburn.”

On October 10, Trish Nield fell and hit her head when her puppy was attacked by a dog along Daylesford’s Smith Street.

Her injuries were initially assessed as not requiring a Code 1 response and paramedics took 45 minutes to arrive.

Ms Nield died in hospital more than a week later.

Ambulance Victoria members have spoken to her family, offering to meet to discuss a review into the incident.