The NSW Ambulance service says it has not identified any "adverse outcomes" of a staff shortage, which reduced the number of ambulances on the road and drew concern from NSW Labor and the paramedics union.
The Hunter was 10 staff members short on Monday night because of unexpected absences, something the Australian Paramedics Association NSW said on Tuesday was "alarming".
"A shortage this extreme means every person calling Triple Zero receives a lower quality of care, with many patients waiting unreasonable timeframes to receive medical care," APA NSW president Chris Kastelan said.
"It also means paramedics are worked off their feet, often missing meal breaks working overtime. On Monday, daytime crews were asked to remain at work after they'd completed their own 12-hour shifts to help ambulance address call backlog."
A NSW Ambulance spokesman said unplanned absences on Monday night meant staffing "dipped below" the intended roster level, but disputed the claim made by the union and Labor that the shortage caused the closure two of the region's stations.
"Despite the best efforts of NSW Ambulance to deploy off-duty staff, the shifts could not be filled at short notice," he said.
"NSW Ambulance is well advanced on the roll-out of the NSW government's Statewide Workforce Enhancement Program including across the Hunter region. Sixty graduate interns commenced road duties on 29 May and a further 60 commenced induction training immediately following.
"NSW Ambulance is deploying 100 new paramedics earlier than planned this year as part of the government's commitment to recruit 750 new paramedic and call centre staff over four years since 2018."
Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery said the shortages were occurring because not enough permanent staff had been employed.
She said the NSW government should introduce the increased minimum operating levels, which would mean more paramedics rostered on the job, earlier than the scheduled date of July 2.
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