Perth residents are being warned there is likely to be delays in ambulances responding to emergency calls for the second time in a week.
St John WA issued a public alert warning of “extremely high demand” impacting response times shortly before 3.30pm on Sunday.
“St John is about to alert the public via social media messaging the service is experiencing extremely high demand for ambulances in metropolitan Perth,” St John said in a statement.
“It is likely there will be a delay in an ambulance reaching people who call Triple Zero.
“While we appreciate there will be a high level of interest in this messaging, our priority is to meet patient demand during this time.
The ambulance provider issued a similar alert late on Monday afternoon, which ultimately remained in place for 13 hours until early on Tuesday morning.
St John said the latest alert came as the not-for-profit grappled with high levels of absenteeism caused by COVID.
“At present, we are experiencing crew shortages of 20 per cent and sporadic high call volumes in the State Operations Centre,” the St John statement said.
“There are currently 30 ambulance paramedics who are on COVID leave today, and 18 this evening.”
Ambulance paramedics are St John’s most highly trained emergency respondents, with each completing a university degree plus additional training in advanced life support.
St John said it was activating lesser trained transport medics to respond to priority 3 and 4 cases – which are not generally life-threatening – and “implementing expanded overtime entitlements to encourage those available to return to the road”.
West Australians who do not require life-saving assistance are being urged to refrain from calling an ambulance and instead visit a GP or urgent care clinic.
Dialling HealthDirect on 1800 022 222 is also an option.