Mark Norman performed CPR on Mr McRae.
Mark Norman performed CPR on Mr McRae.

Call for review of ambo staffing

THE family of a man who died after waiting half-an-hour for paramedics has called for a review of ambulance resources in the Northern Rivers.

In a letter to the editor, the family of 79-year-old John McRae thanks bystanders who performed CPR during the 27-minute delay.

“On behalf of all of the McRae family we would like to thank Mr Mark Norman for coming to the aid of John while the ambulances were on their way,” the letter reads.

“In no way do we blame the men and women of the ambulance service ... however the availability and location of the resources of the ambulance services needs to be reviewed to ensure that this does not happen again.”

In response to the McRae family concerns, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner expressed her condolences, but could not commit to improving staff levels.

“My thoughts are with the family during what is an extremely distressing time,” Ms Skinner said in a statement.

“I am advised the NSW Ambulance Service regularly reviews all areas of its operations, including staffing levels. On this day the service experienced a high demand throughout the Northern Rivers area.”

Lismore MP Thomas George said he wanted to “see something done”.

“I have rung (Ms Skinner) and asked to have the matter reviewed,” Mr George said.

North Coast Health Services Union organiser Ken McIntosh told The Daily News the number of paramedics in Murwillumbah and surrounds was "definitely inadequate".

He said ambulance staff numbers in Murwillumbah, Kingscliff and Byron Bay were actually “based on a staff review done 10 years ago”.

“There has been considerable population growth in that time,” Mr McIntosh said.

Earlier this year a study conducted by Tweed Shire Council’s demographic and business trends researchers ID Consulting found the region was set to grow by 41% over the next 20 years.



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