The Daylesford Ambulance Service will convert to a 24/7 service as a result of a recent funding boost.

Currently the Ambulance Service is staffed only on weekdays. Overnight and weekend services are provided by on-call staff who must first travel to the Daylesford Ambulance Service or by units deployed from Ballarat.

The change to the service is part of a $14.8 million package for Ambulance Victoria from the state government aimed at improving access to emergency care in rural and regional Victoria.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health Steve McGhie announced the extra funding earlier this year.  More paramedics will be available and more ambulances will be on the road in the coming months with additional Peak Period Units (PPUs) being deployed across Victoria. “This funding will see even more paramedics employed across the state, as well as extra ambulance units and surge shifts, and better referral service capacity,” Mr McGhie said.

General Secretary of the Victorian Ambulance Union, Danny Hill, welcomed the news in a message to staff. “This is a positive step forward with a targeted increase in resources where they are desperately needed. This would not have been possible without members raising important examples of resourcing gaps.”

As part of the funding boost, 40 graduate paramedics have already started working across Victoria and another 37 graduates will start in March to fill rural vacancies.

Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards said, “It’s crucial that Victorians have the timely medical services they need no matter where they live – and we are delivering greater access so patients don’t have to wait.”

A serious injury to a Daylesford football player, Josh Cowan, last weekend highlighted the need for improved services. The player suffered a fracture to his lower limb and and trainers were unable to move him because of the seriousness of his injury and his extreme pain. An Ambulance Community Officer (ACO) in attendance at the game assisted club trainers but it was over an hour before an ambulance arrived even though a paramedic was stationed at the Daylesford Ambulance Service just five minutes away.

Ambulance Victoria has apologised to Josh Cowan for their poor response last weekend but has not offered an explanation for the delay.