Search on for P’ville ambo site
PLANS are on track to build a new ambulance station at Pottsville, with detailed planning work underway to identify a preferred site in the coastal village.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest, who committed to the $5.9 million ambulance station at Pottsville ahead of last year’s state election, said he expected plans to be finalised within months and an announcement made before the end of the year.
“They’ve identified three potential sites and the money is allocated for go-ahead,” Mr Provest said.
“It’s on track. There’s no real delay. It’s just looking at suitable sites and what’s available under the current market. It’s full steam ahead and I would envisage an announcement by the end of the year.”
Mr Provest said several factors impacted on the time it would take to finalise the station’s planning.
“It’s an operational issue Ambulance NSW deals with, taking into account road access, future growth and so forth,” Mr Provest said.
“It’s always hard to find the most appropriate site. It took a number of years to find an appropriate site for the $25 million Tweed Heads Police Station, which had a two-year construction period.
“So it (the ambulance station) could take 9-12 months to build from start to finish.”
Calls for a new ambulance station in Pottsville, which has a population of around 7000, came on the back of increased demand for the service, with the nearest station at least 20 minutes away in Kingscliff.
The Kingscliff station already caters to a population of around 8500, plus an extra 3000 living between the two communities.
With a national target of 10,000 residents per ambulance station, the proposed Pottsville facility is considered crucial for NSW Ambulance, which lags behind other states in several areas, including funding, staffing and response times.
A recently released report card from the Productivity Commission shows NSW ambulances were slower to respond to life-threatening situations than any other jurisdiction in the country except Tasmania.
The median time for NSW ambulances to arrive after a call was logged was 11.2 minutes, more than a minute longer than the national target time of 10 minutes.
Ambulance NSW facts:
- Tweed Shire Ambulance Station locations Tweed Heads, Kingscliff, Murwillumbah are part of the Northern Zone.
- The Department of Health requires ambulance services to reach 75% of category A (life-threatening) calls within eight minutes.
- The national target for ambulance arrival on scene is within 10 minutes of an emergency call.
- Ambulance NSW does not provide regional response times and does not capture response times for individual stations.
- Receives less State Government funding per capita than any other Australian ambulance service.
- The total number of emergency responses by NSW Ambulance increased from 927, 369 in 2013-14 to 950,674 during 2014-15.
- Ambulance patients at more than half of Northern NSW Local Health District hospitals wait longer to see a doctor than the state average.