The Metropolitan Ambulance Service of Victoria (MAS) is to be investigated by the Auditor-General’s Office after claims the Intergraph computer aided dispatch (CAD) system is costing lives.
The Auditor-General’s Office launched the investigation early in September and is expected to continue throught the year. The office will be reviewing the management and finances of the MAS.
The performance of the Intergraph computer aided dispatch system will come under the most scrutiny.
The new multi-million dollar system was introduced to the ambulance and police services last year [by the Kennett Liberal Government] and was extended to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) in Julty, with the Country Fire Authority’s 201 metropolitan fire stations due to switch over on 3 October.
The investigation could be a big blow for the American-owned Intergraph Corporation which won a [Kennett Liberal Government] contract to run a communications system for Victoria’s emergency services in 1994.
A widow told the County Court in the first week of September that she waited more than 30 minutes for a Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) to arrive.
The court was told that the delay was caused by a trainee operator who had sent the MICA to drive to the house without lights or sirens, under normal traffic conditions.
There have also been other incidents of concern that have happened since the introduction of [the privatised] Intergraph.
These include, on 31 August, a 65 minute collapse of the system leading to the pre-1960s days of dispatch via the telephone; on 24 August 24, a 9 hour coliapse of the system, 30 ex-communications staff were urgently recalled to operate pre-Intergraph system; and on 11 July 11, a 37-minute delay in alerting the fire brigade to fatal blaze in Port Melbourne.
This article was orginaly published in the print edition of VicNews, Vol 4, No 7, September 1996. Text in [brackets] has been added to this reprint.