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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 4 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1299..


It is the case, as I have previously indicated to members, that the new defibrillators purchased by the ACT came with batteries that have been identified by the manufacturer as a deficient batch. As a result, the manufacturer has issued a worldwide recall of that batch of batteries, and the new batteries are in the process of being supplied to the ACT Ambulance Service.

In relation to the other matter that I note was reported in the Canberra Times this morning, I can advise that on that occasion the defibrillator did not fail. It did not fail. The monitor did not deliver a shock, because the monitor detected a high level of thoracic impedance. I am advised that thoracic impedance is electrical resistance across the chest of the patient being treated, which is measured by the monitor. In this situation, the monitor performed exactly as it was supposed to do.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, is it true that battery failure and reliability is now plaguing these monitors?

MR CORBELL: As of today, no.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Gentleman, a supplementary question.

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, how has the Transport Workers Union responded to this issue?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. I am advised that the Transport Workers Union, which of course represents our ACT ambulance paramedic workforce, has confirmed that at no time has patient safety been compromised as a result of a number of these technical problems with defibrillators. That is reassuring, because that is exactly the same advice I am receiving from the management of the ACT Ambulance Service. The fact that the union that represents paramedics is also confirming that that is the case, that at no time has patient safety been compromised, should provide reassurance from the coalface as well as from our organisational leaders that this issue is being appropriately managed.

ACT Ambulance Service—defibrillators

MR WALL: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, is it true concerning the defibrillator monitors in the ACT Ambulance Service that, as a consequence of the unreliability of this equipment, ambulances are now fitted with automated external defibrillators?

MR CORBELL: The ACT Ambulance Service did, when these faults were first detected last year, put in place contingency arrangements to ensure that at no time was patient safety compromised. That included additional defibrillation capacity should that be required in an emergency. These were prudent and sensible steps to take to ensure that at no time patient safety was compromised. I am pleased to say that the confirmation we have from the ACT Ambulance Service and from the union representing our ambulance paramedics is that at no time has patient safety been compromised.


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