Danny O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (19:03): (703) My adjournment matter for this evening is for the Minister for Ambulance Services, and the action I seek is for the minister to take action to fix some of the operational issues that are occurring with the non-emergency patient transport (NEPT) scheme. I am aware that the government undertook a review, by the member for Melton, and that that review has been with the government for quite some time. Indeed I got a letter back from the minister in March saying that the government was considering the outcomes of that review.

The reason I think action is needed on this is that I have had a number of constituents who have had significant issues with booking and using non-emergency patient transport. Indeed on multiple occasions two gentlemen, separately, have missed appointments that they had booked in Melbourne with specialists because they simply did not have someone from the NEPT service turn up. These are cases where they have made a booking, they have had a booking confirmed and the non-emergency ambulance has either not turned up at all or turned up so late that they were not going to be able to make the appointment in Melbourne. Indeed on a couple of occasions they have gone halfway there only to be called by the relevant medical professional or hospital and told, ‘Sorry, you’re too late; you’re going to have to rebook.’ Everybody will understand how difficult it can be to rebook, particularly for a specialist appointment.

We had one instance where the constituent was told that the appointment was cancelled because someone had put the pick-up and the drop-off address in as the same address. Instead of ringing the constituent to say, ‘What is the correct address?’, they just cancelled the appointment. For another one just recently, in the last week or so, my constituent from Sale was left stranded in Melbourne even though he had booked, through his GP, non-emergency patient transport to go to an appointment and back in the same day. Twice when he rang to say, ‘Where is my return trip?’, he was told, ‘No, no, no, you’re not leaving until tomorrow; you’re booked in for a hospital stay overnight,’ which was incorrect.

If these things happened once or twice, you would understand that these things happen, but it seems to be happening repeatedly. I do not know whether the review that the member for Melton has done has recommended anything that will actually fix some of these issues.

Steve McGhie interjected.

Danny O’BRIEN: This is actually with Ambulance Victoria, member for Melton. These ones in particular were Ambulance Victoria, not emergency patient transport – not the privatised operations – and so I ask the minister to take action to fix these issues. It is costing people in regional Victoria appointments, costing them money, costing them time and no doubt costing the taxpayer as well, given the messes that are happening. This section needs to be fixed as quickly as possible.


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