St John at crisis level, says CEO

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THE only public ambulance service serving the people of National Capital District, Central and parts of Gulf is at a crisis level attending to an increasing number of Coronavirus (Covid-19) emergencies, an official says.
St John Ambulance chief executive officer Matt Cannon said ambulance cases had doubled and a large number of cases – about 50 per cent – were Covid-19-related with breathing problems.
“We are busy enough with the normal emergencies (such as) accidents and people getting sick at home, collapsing and all other things,” he said.
“(Then) you throw on top of that Covid-19.
“We are seeing a huge stretch on our resources.
“Just this (yesterday) morning, we had two serious incidents and we have all our ambulance out on the road.
“It takes up to two hours to clean an ambulance after a Covid-19 patient is transported and that means that we are using more ambulances than were available.
“The ambulance service is seeing a stretch.
“At the moment, we are seeing the Port Moresby General Hospital PMGH (PMGH) at 100 per cent capacity in Covid-19 wards.
“We are seeing ambulance queuing at the hospital trying to off-load patients and sometimes this can take hours. The doctors and nurses at PMGH and Nightingale Covid-19 Centre at the Taurama Aquatic Centre are doing everything possible to save lives.
“Unfortunately, there are so many patients and the severity of it is so great that it may not be possible to save everyone.”
Cannon said the Taurama Aquatic Centre was filling up with 46 patients, which was the total number of beds that they could adequately staff.
“The challenges we are facing are not enough nursing and medical staff here to cater for the increasing numbers of patients,” he said.
Cannon said St John lost a senior staff to Covid-19 on Monday night and two other staff, all with administrative roles, have been down with suspected Covid-19
He said because St John staff were frontline workers, 92 per cent were vaccinated with hope of reaching 100 per cent soon.