A WIMMERA ambulance leader has answered criticism that ambulance response times have 'blown out' in the past two years.
State Opposition Parliamentary Health Secretary Wade Noonan said a 2013 Productivity Commission Report on Government Services showed that ambulance response times for life-threatening code one emergencies across Victoria were going backwards at an alarming rate.
"State-wide response times for life-threatening call-outs have increased to 22 minutes for 90 per cent of cases during the 2011-12 period, which is more than two minutes longer than when the current State Government took office," Mr Noonan said.
"This is the latest evidence that the Victorian ambulance system is struggling to cope.
"It demonstrates that the ambulance service is caught in a downward spiral."
Ambulance Victoria Grampians regional manager Greg Leach said research showed that survival rates from cardiac arrest continued to improve across the state.
"These survival rates have doubled in rural Victoria since 2008," he said.
"Response times can be affected by many factors including traffic, road and weather conditions, distance required to travel, demand for ambulance services, hospital transfer times and availability of crews.
"Time taken to transfer patients at hospitals can affect our ability to respond to 000 calls and any delays which affect our capacity to serve the community are frustrating."
Mr Leach said Ambulance Victoria transported about 1750 patients to hospital every day, with the number of patients transported increasing from 616,982 in 2009-10 to 639,735 in 2010-11.
"We continue to see improvements in the more important measures of whether people live or die, and the quality of their life, for cardiac arrest, heart attack, stroke and head trauma patients," he said.
"We work closely with the Department of Health and hospitals to minimise our time required at hospitals with patients.
"Whenever we become aware of lengthening transfer times, we make contact with the hospitals involved in an attempt to quickly find a solution."