Questions to be answered about future of Ettalong Ambulance Station staff and site

Liesl Tesch MP with Dr Gordon Reid outside Ettalong Ambulance Station

The future use for the site of the existing  Ettalong Ambulance Station and the future of its employees have not been clarified by the NSW Government following its announcement that a new ambulance station will be built at Woy Woy Hospital.

The station, to be operational in early 2023, will include internal parking for up to 10 emergency ambulance vehicles, administration areas, a training room, and a gym.

It is expected to replace the existing  Ettalong Ambulance Station.

Reports suggest staff at the Ettalong station were blindsided by the relocation and only found out via NSW Health’s letterboxed handout.

Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, said she has called upon the NSW Government to upgrade the Ettalong station instead of selling it off.

“The closure will add minutes to emergency ambulance wait-times in Ettalong Beach, Umina Beach, Pearl Beach, Patonga, Empire Bay, St Hubert’s Island, Bensville, Killcare, Hardy’s Bay and Wagstaffe,” Tesch said.

“A minute in traffic for an ambulance could be the difference between life and death.

“It’s completely unacceptable that our hard-working paramedics who were championed by this Government during the pandemic weren’t told about this change and instead found out when community members received the glossy government pamphlets.

“Time and time again, we see this tired-old Liberal State Government sell-off assets and cut vital health services in our communities.”

When asked if staff were told beforehand about the station’s relocation or if staff will be retained, Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, said the future purpose of the Ettalong site will be assessed once building of the new Woy Woy station has been completed.

“The existing  Ettalong Ambulance Station will remain operational until the new station at Woy Woy is complete,” Crouch said.

“The relocation of Ettalong station on the Woy Woy Hospital is an exciting step in delivering a brand-new ambulance station for Peninsula communities, ensuring local paramedics have modern facilities to deliver high-quality emergency care well into the future.

“NSW Ambulance and Health Infrastructure worked to identify a new location using best practice modelling software which maps Triple Zero calls to determine the most suitable location for mobile emergency care in the region.

“The current Ettalong station site is located outside of
the area identified by NSW Ambulance Service to provide the best response times
for the community.

“The new site at Woy Woy will ensure paramedics at the new station will be in an optimal location to respond to the greatest number of cases in the shortest amount of time.

“Health Infrastructure will commence the planning approval process for the new ambulance station in the coming weeks.”

Tesch said she has asked Questions on Notice in NSW Parliament about what the plan will mean for staffing of paramedics, traffic concerns on Ocean Beach Rd and travel-time difference.

Those answers are due back at the end of the year.

Maisy Rae