The state's paramedics union has backed a call from Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery for more ambulance crews in the lower Hunter, after a man was forced to wait several hours with a broken hip before being taken to hospital last week.
But NSW Ambulance says the patient was given the correct urgency rating because there were other cases that needed to prioritised above him.
Ms Hornery said her office had been informed that a man in a Newcastle nursing home waited about six hours after a triple zero call was placed, before paramedics arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning and took him to hospital with a broken hip.
She said she had received information indicating that dozens of jobs were queued-up on Friday night in the lower Hunter, where there were only nine ambulance crews on duty.
"It simply isn't good enough that we have patients waiting six hours for an ambulance to arrive," she said.
"Paramedics are telling me that they are being stretched to breaking point, with many staff working multiple overtime shifts per week or being sent to cover staff shortages in other regions."
Australian Paramedics Association NSW president Chris Kastelan said staffing was a "significant issue" in the Hunter and the union backed Ms Hornery's call for more staff.
He said the region had "enormous workloads" and it was "plainly unacceptable" that the Hamilton station - Newcastle's largest - was being run with one crew on some nights.
"We have been advised of constant under-staffing of ambulance stations, especially on Friday nights," Mr Kastelan said.
"The situation where paramedics are being asked to work both in the Newcastle and Central Coast areas is not uncommon.
"Newcastle cars can find themselves stuck in bed-block at Wyong or Gosford hospitals for many hours, leaving their normally-covered suburbs and areas with no coverage or coverage delayed by many minutes. As we know, time counts in emergencies."
A NSW Ambulance spokesperson said the NSW government's four-year roll-out of extra paramedics across the state from 2018-19 meant the Hunter would get 58 new positions and the Central Coast would receive 50 during the period.
He said paramedics were mobile for most of their shifts and the closest available crew was dispatched in emergencies - with life-threatening injuries and illnesses given priority.
The spokesperson said appropriate care was given to the patient with the broken hip last week.
"A review has identified the incident was given the correct urgency rating," he said.
"On this particular evening there was a number of higher priority emergency calls due to high demand occurring in the area at the time. As a result, there was a delay responding to this patient."
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