Opposition slams Victorian government over triple-zero review
Daniel Andrews has been slammed over a major review into deaths linked to delays calling Victoria’s triple-0 service.
The Victorian Government has been criticised over a major review into the state’s crippled triple-zero service amid revelations staff were personally selected to take part in the consultation process.
Major setbacks within the state’s emergency service have been unearthed in the past year amid the deaths of several Victorians.
The victims all died while waiting for paramedics, which has been attributed to the pandemic placing pressure on the entire health system.
With a review probing a series of deaths linked to call delays, the Herald Sun has revealed consulting firm PwC – which was engaged by Emergency Management Victoria to manage consultations with employees – raised concerns about how staff were selected to take part.
It is understood PwC raised the matter with both EMV and ESTA ahead of initial consultations in December amid fears the impartiality of review may have been compromised.
Two further consultations reportedly held call takers and dispatchers and included union delegates.
All three ESTA sites were consulted.
The opposition has slammed the government over a review into the state’s emergency services. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
Shadow emergency services minister Brad Battin on Wednesday said the review was being set up for failure.
“Confirmation that as few as 10 emergency call taking and dispatch staff from a total of 90 triple-zero employees (were) selected for consultation reflects a review being set up to fail,” he said.
“Furthermore, the staff that are allowed to participate are being hand-picked by ESTA – a clear roadblock for honest and transparent feedback being provided.
“How will this review get to the truth of what’s wrong with triple-zero when the only people allowed to speak are those hand-picked by triple-zero?
“Victorians are dying while on hold to triple-zero, yet Daniel Andrews is more interested in spin and deflection than fixing the problem.”
Premier Daniel Andrews has blamed the failings in the service on the pandemic. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui
Premier Daniel Andrews has attributed the pressure on the service to the pandemic, which has hit all areas across Victoria’s health system.
It’s believed three people have died in the past year while they waited for ambulances.
The most recent was Cowes man Stewart Grant, who died in January after it took 40 minutes for paramedics to arrive.
Two deaths reported publicly last year were Melbourne residents Nick Panagiotopoulos and Christina Lackmann, who both died while waiting for an ambulance.
The opposition this week called for the resignation of deputy premier James Merlino after it was revealed he was warned about serious staff shortages in ESTA in 2016 while he was the state’s Emergency Services Minister.
Health Minister Martin Foley this week defended Mr Merlino and blamed the ESTA crisis on the pandemic.
“We’re talking something in 2016 in a context of a completely different world where over 90 per cent of calls were being received within the five second requirement (and) well before anyone had even heard of a global pandemic,” he said.