Perth residents are warned that there are likely to be delays in ambulances responding to emergency calls for the second time in a week.
St John WA issued an “extremely high demand” public alert warning affecting response times shortly before 3:30pm on Sunday.
“St John is about to alert the public via social media messaging that the service is experiencing extremely high demand for ambulances in the Greater Perth area,” St John said in a statement.
“There is likely to be a delay in getting an ambulance to people calling Triple Zero.
“While we appreciate that there will be a high level of interest in this message, our priority is to meet patient demand during this time.
The ambulance provider issued a similar alert late Monday afternoon, which ultimately remained in effect for 13 hours until early Tuesday morning.
St John said the latest alert came as the nonprofit grappled with high levels of absenteeism caused by COVID.
“Currently, we are experiencing a 20 per cent crew shortage and sporadic high volume of calls at the State Operations Center,” the St John statement said.
“There are currently 30 ambulance paramedics on COVID leave today, and 18 tonight.”
The ambulance paramedics are St John’s best trained emergency responders, each having completed a university degree plus further training in advanced life support.
St John said it was activating less-skilled transport medics to respond to priority 3 and 4 cases, which are generally not life-threatening, and “implementing expanded overtime rights to encourage those available to get back on the road.” .
Western Australians not in need of life-saving assistance are urged to refrain from calling an ambulance and instead visit a GP or urgent care clinic.
Dialing HealthDirect on 1800 022 222 is also an option.