An ambulance service has been slammed for sending debt collectors to call a man whose wife fractured her leg and a woman who helped a homeless car accident victim.
The husband from Warranambool, west of Melbourne, was incensed after getting calls on behalf of Ambulance Victoria, despite him telling paramedics his private health insurance covered medical emergencies.
‘What irks me the most is hearing about it first from a private debt collection agency — or what appears to be a debt collection agency — rather than from Ambulance Victoria themselves,’ he told the ABC.
A man received a phone call from debt collectors after his wife fractured her leg (stock image)
The husband from Warranambool was incensed after getting calls on behalf of Ambulance Victoria, despite him telling paramedics his private health insurance covered this expense. Several people suggested Victoria should copy Queensland (pictured) and make them free
In another case, a good Samaritan woman was contacted by debt collectors demanding she pay for an emergency call-out she had made for a stranger.
The woman rode her bike to work in March when she saw a homeless man get hit by a car in St Kilda, Melbourne.
She was worried about the man’s health and called an ambulance to take him to hospital, she told ABC Radio on Thursday.
A woman, Jenna, who selflessly helped a homeless person who had been hit by a car was shocked when a debt collector called and asked her to pay for the ambulance fee
‘I guess the first thing I noticed though was that this person looked like he’d been homeless for a pretty significant period of time and he was very polite but he looked very unwell,’ she said.
The charging of people for an ambulance in Victoria has sparked outrage on social media.
‘I can’t understand how anyone can be charged for an ambulance,’ Patrick Fogarty wrote on the ABC’s Facebook page.
‘Are homeless people meant to die in the street and be left there? ‘
The charging of people for an ambulance in Victoria has sparked outrage on social media
One woman said Victoria should follow Queensland, where ambulance call-outs are free
Another woman questioned how anyone could be charged for an ambulance
‘I thought the taxes I pay covered anyone in Australia.’
One woman said Victoria should follow Queensland, where ambulance call-outs are free.
‘This is outrageous, having just moved from Queensland, I had no clue I could be charged for calling an ambulance in other states,’ Jess Van Der Hoeven said.
Another woman questioned how anyone could be charged for an ambulance.
‘Whatever happened to the customer, patient, must be of sound mind to agree to charges,’ Sarah Renfrey said.
While the homeless man refused to go to hospital after the car accident, the woman who helped him was shocked when she was contacted by a debt collector at Australian Receivables Limited months later.
The debt collector, who had her home phone and mobile numbers, wanted her to pay an invoice to Ambulance Victoria.
The good Samaritan said it was a breach of privacy for Ambulance Victoria (pictured) to pass her details to the debt collector company
The woman who helped him was enraged and told the ABC it was ‘unethical’ to chase a homeless person for medical debts.
She also said it was a breach of privacy for Ambulance Victoria to pass her details to the debt collector company.
In a statement issued by Ambulance Victoria, they said an investigation is taking place to find out how Jenna’s details were passed onto the debt collection company.
The debt collection company and Ambulance Victoria were slammed on social media.
‘Sounds like the collection agency is remunerated on success. Very poor form all round,’ one woman said.
How much do you pay for an ambulance in your state?
Costs of ambulances vary state by state
NSW – $372 plus $3.35 per km
VIC – $1,204
TAS – government subisidised
QLD – government subisidised
SA – $976
WA – $949
ACT – $959 plus $13 per km
NT – $790 plus $5.10 per km
* Emergency metropolitan ambulance services
‘Not good enough – hope this is sorted asap for this kind woman,’ another said.
The cost of ambulances vary state by state in Australia with significant discrepancies.
In New South Wales, a call out fee of $372 plus an additional charge of $3.35 per kilometre is charged for emergency services.
If you’re a NSW resident, you only pay 51 per cent because the state government subsidises the rest.
For those in Victoria, people have to fork out more than $1,200 for emergency ambulance services.
In Tasmania, the ambulance service is free for all local residents.
Queensland has one of the best ambulance covers, with people who permanently live in the state automatically covered for emergency pre-hospital ambulance transport across the country.
In South Australia, a $976 fee is issued for emergency ambulances.
Western Australians have to pay $949 unless they are a pensioner as they are given free ambulance cover.
Australia’s capital is not exempt from ambulance costs, with locals in the ACT having to pay $959 plus $13 per km.
In the Northern Territory, a fee of $790 is issued for emergency ambulances plus an additional $5.10 per kilometre.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ambulance Victoria.