PORTLAND’S new $1.15 million ambulance station had its metaphorical ribbon cut when Premier Denis Napthine officially declared it open yesterday.
Paramedics have been in the station for about three weeks and were already seeing the benefits, Ambulance Victoria group manager Tony Oxford said. “It’s a huge step up.”
Mr Oxford said the new station was more functional, making it easier for staff to manage their 24-hour shifts and providing better access for vehicles.
There were also training facilities and the ability to accommodate additional paramedics in the case of a major emergency.
“If there was another significant event, such as the coal tar pitch spill at the port (in February last year), we’ve got extra facilities for more crews,” Mr Oxford said.
Premier and member for South West Coast Denis Napthine and Minister for Health David Davis were present for the opening yesterday.
Dr Napthine also announced an additional “peak period unit” of six paramedics and a new ambulance vehicle to begin in Portland from March next year.
“The additional vehicle means that no longer will Portland be without an ambulance when the crew is tied up on things such as patient transfers or covering Heywood,” he said.
“This station will help reduce emergency response times in this area, which benefits locals when they need help most.”
Mr Davis said the station was funded thanks to a 17 per cent increase in money for Ambulance Victoria since 2009-10.
“This funding boost has resulted in an additional 28,598 paramedic shifts statewide, including 2555 in the Barwon South-West region,” he said.