Ambulance Tasmania's COVID preparedness has been called into question as COVID-19 continues to enter the community.
The Australian Paramedics Association of Tasmania said with the current workload unmanageable and demand expected to rise, paramedics and patients would suffer.
APAT Spokesperson Chris Kastelan said he did not have confidence Ambulance Tasmania was in a position to meet the increasing demands of COVID-19.
"We are entering into a period of likely increased workload and unable to cope with the workload that we currently have," he said.
Mr Kastelan said feedback from members indicated Ambulance Tasmania staff were being required to work overtime to make up for the shortfall in staff numbers.
He said the requests were being made daily with paramedics responding to cases on their own due to the shortfall.
"This not only presents a concern for paramedics but also the patients who rely on them,'' he said.
Mr Kastelan said the shortfall in staff was impacting other emergency services, including Tasmanian Police, who were required to transport a patient after waiting over an hour for an ambulance.
"On Friday evening [December 18] police required an ambulance for a mental health case to which no ambulance was available," he said.
"After an hour, the case escalated with the requirement of medical intervention and a call was put in for an Ambulance. They were told that no crew was available.
Mr Kastelan said while the ordeal placed an additional burden on police, it was also an undignified way to manage a medical issue.
He said while the APAT had engaged with the Department of Health and received advice the staffing situation was being managed, feedback from members suggested otherwise.
"The authority is aware of the concerns and said they have a plan to manage the issues but paramedics on the ground are saying the issues are not being addressed," he said.
Previously Health minister Jeremy Rockliff said the organisation was well prepared for COVID, with the recruitment of staff being fast-tracked and additional ambulance capacity created.
He said the Government had allocated $7.5 million to the provision of Ambulance Tasmania facilities as part of the COVID-19 response, in addition to $5 million provided in the 2018-19 budget.
An experienced multi-platform journalist focusing on the issues that impact health in Tasmania. With a background in social research and public policy, health reporting for Andrew is about ensuring the best health outcomes for the Northern Tasmanian community. Contact Andrew at: email@example.com or 0437 358 262
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