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Vic ambos late to a quarter of worst cases

AAP logoAAP 13/10/2016 Angus Livingston
Parked Ambulances in Melbourne © Provided by AAP Parked Ambulances in Melbourne

Victorian paramedics are still late to a quarter of the worst cases but the government insists they're ending the "crisis" they campaigned on at the election.

A crisis in ambulance response times was a key feature of Labor's 2014 election campaign, but the government has only seen a 1.5 per cent improvement in two years.

Ambulances are supposed to respond to code one incidents within 15 minutes at least 85 per cent of the time - but the 2015/16 annual report shows it happens in just 75.2 per cent of cases.

Two years ago - when Labor said there was a crisis in response times - they were at 73.7 per cent.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said there had been steady improvement thanks to cultural change at Ambulance Victoria.

"(A) two per cent improvement is minutes, it does genuinely make the difference between whether a person lives or dies," Ms Hennessy told reporters on Thursday.

"We're saving more Victorians, we're getting to them quickly, and our paramedics are actually safer and reporting much higher levels of job satisfaction."

Ambulance Victoria said one factor affecting response times was paramedics spending more time with ageing patients with complex medical problems, which can mean longer assessment and treatment times.

Opposition health spokeswoman Mary Wooldridge said Labor and Premier Daniel Andrews promised to fix response times.

"He is nowhere near his target, with response times similar to what they were under the previous government when Daniel Andrews claimed it was a crisis," Ms Wooldridge said.

"Patients in regional Victoria are still particularly disadvantaged with response times well below targets.

"The report released today shows that 21 regional and rural local government areas are not even meeting response time targets half of the time."

Ambulance Victoria chair Ken Lay said strategies were in place to get ambulances to people faster, but it was difficult.

"Ambulance Victoria has never met its response time targets," Mr Lay said in the report.

Ms Hennessy admitted it was an "ambitious target", but the state was targeting steady improvement.

"We've got the best ambulance response times in five years," she said.

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