Ambulance Wait Times Hit All Time High In NSW

Worst numbers in a decade

Article heading image for Ambulance Wait Times Hit All Time High In NSW


People in NSW are waiting the longest they’ve had to for ambulances since records were made publicly available 12 years ago.

Data released by the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) tracked the performance of ambulances and public hospitals in the January to march quarter this year and showed the median time for ambulances to respond to most urgent cases was 8.8 minutes.

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The wait time was the highest since BHI began recording data in 2010, however still met the 10-minute target response time.

At the next level of urgency, patients were waiting up to, or even more than 15 minutes for transport to hospital. 

Of the 48 regions in Greater Sydney, 39 saw median response times higher this quarter compared to quarter one, 2021.

The report also revealed ambulance responses were up 6.1 per cent more, 326,544, than pre-pandemic in 2019.

NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce said the report highlighted some of the impacts high numbers of COVID-19 reported, particularly during the peak of the Omicron wave, had on the public health system.

"I want to thank all our staff throughout the state for their incredible efforts to keep the community safe and deliver high quality care during one of the most challenging periods of the pandemic. The work they have done – and continue to do – to care for the people of NSW is remarkable," she said.

"We acknowledge the Omicron COVID-19 outbreak had an impact on the timeliness of care provided in our hospitals and by NSW Ambulance during this most challenging of quarters.

"We have never seen a period like it before, from the huge volume of COVID-19 cases to the thousands of furloughed staff, and I want to thank the community for their understanding and patience as we faced the many challenges that came our way."

Non-urgent elective surgery was also analysed in the report and revealed while waiting list numbers are down from mid-2020, more than 100,000 patients are still on the waiting list.

One in 10 patients were made to wait more than 465 days for non-urgent surgery which was longer than any quarter since 2010.

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14 June 2022

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