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St George Couple left in shock as Ambulance Response Time exceeds five hours

An elderly couple in the Southern suburbs of Sydney were kept waiting for a gruelling five hours for an ambulance, after calling emergency services late last night.

The ordeal began on Monday night, when Agnes Perugini, a 73-year-old resident of Penshurst, began to experience pains in her chest, difficulty breathing and was unable to move around or get up.

Recognising the tell-tale signs of a stroke, her husband, Lou, quickly dialled emergency services to have her rushed to hospital. When placing his call at 11:10pm, he did not expect that the ambulance would arrive exactly five hours later… at 4:10am.

What followed was an agonising wait that stretched over five hours, a period during which Mrs Perugini’s condition could have dramatically worsened.

“I don’t blame the paramedics. I don’t blame the doctors and the nurses,” Mr Perugini said. “But it is absolutely outrageous to be waiting longer than five hours for an ambulance.”

Whilst Agnes remains in hospital, Member for Oatley, Mark Coure expressed his shock and concern after learning of the situation, highlighting a growing unease of the state of ambulance response times.

“This is frankly ridiculous – we have the best health system in the world, but we are not seeing that under this Government,” Mr Coure said. “We don’t want to see people dying whilst they wait for an ambulance.”

“When seniors are waiting multiple hours for an ambulance into the early hours of the morning, this demonstrates a serious fault in the healthcare system – one that is not being addressed by the Government.”

According to the latest Bureau of Health Information Report from December 2023, last year saw some of the longest ambulance wait times ever recorded since data was made publicly available in 2012.

Paramedics are navigating a surge in ambulance activity, responding to an average of 363,251 incidents. Concurrently, the demand for emergency assistance is on the rise, with 181,175 critical cases requiring immediate attention.

“Our frontline workers are still under massive pressure, with staffing issues contributing to increasing response times,” Mr Coure said. “Poor resourcing of the sector is to blame,”

“People and their loved ones are not getting the healthcare and treatment when they need it. This show that the Government is failing to prioritise timely and accessible medical services for the people of New South Wales.”

“This incident raises serious concerns about the efficiency of emergency response times and the potential risks faced by patients who are in need of urgent medical care.”


MEDIA: Will Delezio | 0435 567 667 |