Anger over Vic death waiting for ambulance

·2-min read

The brother of a Melbourne woman who died while waiting six hours for an ambulance has spoken out about how her case was handled.

Christina Lackmann, 32, died last Wednesday after she called an ambulance because she was feeling dizzy while cooking dinner at home in inner-city Melbourne.

Her brother Broder said a triple-zero operator promised to return her call, but was unable to reach her.

"If someone is calling you in an emergency and then is not able to respond to your return phone call, then what other information do you need to know?" he told ABC radio.

"I can't see how this wasn't prioritised. How are there 10 missed phone calls with no action? There was 10, I counted them."

He said his sister was an aspiring cancer researcher who had "found her calling" and was planning to complete a PhD.

She was found lying dead on her bathroom floor, with her dinner still in the microwave.

Ambulance Victoria acting chief executive officer Mick Stephenson said the system should have been able to respond to Ms Lackmann's case within 30 minutes.

"The entire system is under significant stress because of the very significant load," he told ABC radio.

He said two ambulances were dispatched to Ms Lackmann's apartment, but both were diverted to other cases, before a third arrived too late.

Acting Premier James Merlino said the death was a tragic outcome, and acknowledged Ambulance Victoria had experienced a significant increase in demand.

He said the state government was working with paramedics to ease the pressure on the system.

More than 300 new paramedics have been hired to deal with the increase in demand.

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said Melbourne hospitals were increasingly "ramping" - where paramedics can't respond to emergency calls because they are waiting to transfer their current patient to emergency doctors.

"This government has talked a big game about fixing ambulances, and in fact things have got worse," Mr O'Brien said on Thursday.

"Victorians are dying because of this state government's incompetence."

The Victorian Ambulance Union told AAP there is a "massive overload" on emergency departments, while GPs are seeing fewer patients.

Combined with high levels of medical staff needing sick leave, union secretary Danny Hill says the result is extraordinary pressure on the ambulance system.

The Australian Medical Association has described ambulance waiting times as a public health emergency.