BREAK O'Day Mayor Sarah Schmerl has asked Ambulance Tasmania to reconsider moving a four-wheel-drive paramedic vehicle on the East Coast, saying its relocation from Scamander to St Helens could ``easily be the difference between life and death.''
But a state government spokesman said Ambulance Tasmania was proposing to upgrade the Scamander branch station with a class 1 Mercedes ambulance, which was better equipped than the existing Toyota Prado.
In the letter released by the Tasmanian Liberals yesterday, addressed to Ambulance Tasmania management and dated August 21, Cr Schmerl said Scamander was better located for a 4WD to access emergencies across the East Coast.
``If the 4WD was based in St Helens as is proposed the travel time for the paramedic to come from Scamander to St Helens and then say as far south as Coles Bay could be extended by an additional 30-40 minutes,'' the letter said.
Liberal spokesman for police and emergency services Rene Hidding said that ``given frequent flooding that occurs on the East Coast which has been known to cut off major roads requiring the use of rough back roads, it is imperative that a 4WD paramedic remains available for the entire region.''
But a state government spokesman said the vehicle was being replaced to correct an inequity, as Break O'Day was the state's only rural area where a salaried paramedic did not have immediate access to a fully-equipped ambulance that could carry a stretcher.
The spokesman said the 4WD based at St Helens, a Toyota Land Cruiser, would also be able to carry a stretcher.
Cr Schmerl did not respond to calls for comment.