The number of 'code one' emergencies met in benchmark times in Warrnambool has dropped since 2021 as pandemic pressure continues to see unprecedented demand.
In Warrnambool there was a 17.1 per cent increase in the code one caseload from the same time last year, latest Ambulance Victoria response data between January and March reveals.
Paramedics attended 86.3 per cent of code one patients in Warrnambool within 15 minutes - compared with 90.4 per cent at the same time last year.
The average code one response time in Warrnambool was 10 minutes and 57 seconds.
Meanwhile wait times for less urgent 'code two' incidents blew out in the same period in Warrnambool.
The code two caseload dropped 9.1 per cent in Warrnambool, yet the average wait time for an ambulance almost doubled to 41 minutes and 47 seconds, up from 27 minutes and 19 seconds at the start of 2021.
Code two incidents are acute and time sensitive but do not require a lights and sirens response.
In Moyne Shire there was a 20.8 per cent increase in the code one caseload from the same time last year.
Paramedics attended 46.2 per cent of code one patients in Moyne within 15 minutes - compared with 40.5 per cent the same time last year. The average code one response time was 18 minutes.
Waits for the code two calls inched close to an hour across Moyne despite the caseload dropping 24.5 per cent. Paramedics responded within an average of 46 minutes and 17 seconds, up from the same period last year at 34 minutes and 36 seconds.
Corangamite Shire's ambulance performance slipped each quarter in the past 12 months.
The code one caseload decreased by 5.1 per cent, yet just 46 per cent of code one calls were seen to in 15 minutes.
The average code one response time in Corangamite Shire was 19 minutes and 19 seconds.
There were 10.1 per cent more code two callouts.
Code two response times ballooned to 37 minutes and 40 seconds, almost double last years reporting period of 29 minutes and 14 seconds across 159 callouts.
In the Glenelg Shire code one calls increased by five per cent.
Paramedics attended 67.4 per cent of code ones within 15 minutes. The average wait time for code one patients was 16 minutes.
In line with the rest of the region the less urgent patients waited longer.
The code two patient caseload dropped 18.3 per cent, but wait times increased to an average of 36 minutes and 10 seconds, up from 26 minutes and 40 seconds at the start of 2021.
The challenge of the Omicron variant and furloughed healthcare workers meant the health system remained under significant and sustained stress.
State-wide data shows Ambulance Victoria was called to 93,234 emergency cases between January and March this year.
That broke the record set the previous quarter, making it the busiest in the state's history.
According to Ambulance Victoria, 66.8 per cent of code one cases were responded to within the state-wide average response time target of 15 minutes - a small improvement of 0.3 per cent compared to the previous quarter.
The state-wide average response time to code one cases was 15 minutes and 15 seconds.
In response to the crisis, Ambulance Victoria is now fast-tracking the recruitment of new officers, with another hundred having already hit the road this year and 120 more to begin inductions in May.
The boost is on top of the extra 700 officers who joined Victoria's ranks last year.
"This recruitment drive continues... to help get more ambulances on the road and to patients quicker," acting chief executive Libby Murphy says.
"Our lives may be returning to normal but the extraordinary strain on our hardworking paramedics and the entire health system persists."
Health spending will be a centrepiece of the Victorian budget to be handed down tomorrow, Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Monday.
"The centrepiece will be... a massive investment in health and hospitals to repair the damage that the pandemic has done," Mr Andrews said.
"This is all about making sure we've got more staff to treat more patients to catch up on some of the care that had to be deferred for safety's sake."
There have been multiple calls from peak health bodies including the Australian Medical Association, and most recently the Victorian premier, to increase federal funding of the hospital system to 50 per cent.
As reported in The Age, the Commonwealth has for years chipped in 45 per cent of hospital funding, as well as placing a funding cap when growth is above 6.5 per cent. It lifted this to 50 per cent for pandemic-related health costs, but that arrangement is set to end in September. Daniel Andrews warned this decision would cost the states about $5 billion, including a $1.5 billion hit to Victoria.
Mr Andrews has called for the equal funding split to remain in place.
The Standard asked Wannon MP Dan Tehan if he would support the equal funding split if re-elected but no response was received.
IN OTHER NEWS
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.