Confusion over whether or not ambulances are bypassing Blayney hospital continues with the Health Services Union and the Western LHD and NSW Ambulance at loggerheads over the issue.
According to a copy of an email seen by The Blayney Chronicle and issued from NSW Ambulance, the current collaboration between NSW Ambulance and Western LHD to divert patients through to Bathurst and Orange will be extended from the initial one month period (10/12/18 - 12/01/19) for an additional four months to May 12.
The reason given in the email is "..to assist Blayney Hospitals as they transition to other referral pathway/models of care".
Health Services Union delegate Melissa Todhunter said that under this directive, all Blayney patients are now to be transferred direct to either Orange or Bathurst hospitals.
"This is regardless of the time of day and patient’s presenting condition," she said.
However a spokesperson for Western LHD has denied the claims of the union saying the paramedics are taking patients to the hospitals that best meets their clinical needs.
"Blayney Health Services Emergency are not closed to ambulance patients and there is no directive. It is open 24 hours, seven days a week for medical emergencies and patients attending Blayney are triaged by highly-trained emergency nurses," the statement reads.
"As has always been the case, the Local Health District works with NSW Ambulance to make sure patients are transported to the most appropriate hospital for their clinical condition. This is standard practice across the State."
The spokesperson for the Western Local Health District though acknowledged that discussions were underway.
"It is important to note WNSWLHD and NSW Ambulance recently established a joint planning process focused on making sure the clinical care of local patients across the entire LHD is being delivered in the safest, most co-ordinated way possible," the statement reads.
The spokesperson also refuted any claims that the request to have diversions put in place was made by Blayney Health Council.
A paramedic with over 22 years service, Mrs Todhunter is concerned about the impact it will have on paramedics that already work long and demanding hours.
"Any additional 000 calls in Blayney while the crew are away will have to be responded to by ambulance crews from places like Canowindra - some 70 kilometres away."
Mrs Todhunter added that the decision does not just affect Blayney residents as she says it has been touted as a “pilot program” with the outlook to expansion, asking "Which rural town is next?"