GILGANDRA paramedic Scott Beaton has seen firsthand how an almost 20 per cent spike in the number of call outs is impacting response times and fatigue levels.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a $1 billion investment into ambulance services in June last year, including 750 new paramedics and staff over a four-year period.
While 200 new paramedics joined the ranks during 2018/19, none started work at a station in Central or Western NSW, the Australian Paramedics Association (APA) says.
Statewide, there has been a 10.2 per cent jump in the number of call outs for an ambulance and this has left the APA pleading for more staff.
In Dubbo the spike in call outs has been even bigger, with paramedics responding to 4788 calls during January to March this year, which is a 19.4 per cent jump on the 4009 during the same period last year.
The increased call outs have led to a longer median time for an ambulance to reach the emergency in Dubbo and NSW.
Paramedic Mr Beaton, who is also the region's APA union representative, said more paramedics have been needed in Western NSW for "some time".
"It's increasing paramedics' fatigue levels and, as it progresses up the chain, it impacts hospitals," he said of the shortages.
In Western NSW, Dubbo experienced the largest percentage increase in call outs, with Orange following at 10.8 per cent and Lachlan Valley at 9.8 per cent.
Mr Beaton said the NSW Government's promise of 750 new staff across a four-year period was too long and called for new paramedics now.
"As soon as you get on this side of the sandstone curtain we're just forgotten," he said.
Mr Beaton said a scheduled SWEP (State Wide Enhancement Program) meeting to plan for staff in Western NSW should have been held last November, but he said it was cancelled and never re-booked.
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"What they're planning for Western NSW, we still don't know because they haven't informed the union of the staff," he said.
APA president Chris Kastelan said paramedics were doing their best to cope with the workload but were frustrated by the slow rollout of recruits.
"The latest figures on response times show that NSW Ambulance is failing to provide adequate frontline services to the public," he said.
"We can't wait for another three years for new paramedics to join the ranks. We need them on the job now to cope with a serious upsurge in patients during the current flu season.
"NSW Ambulance is struggling to meet the demand because they have failed to match the numbers of crews with the increasing numbers of calls from the public."
NSW Ambulance were contacted for this story but were unable to provide a response before deadline.
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