Class action investigation launched into Victorian triple-zero authority

A Melbourne law firm is launching a class action investigation into what it says are "systemic failures" within Victoria's triple-zero authority.

Slater and Gordon said the investigation against Victoria's Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) would focus on ambulance call and dispatch operations failures that resulted in 15 deaths since October.

ESTA is the authority responsible for answering triple-zero calls in Victoria and dispatching medical care to critically injured and ill patients.

READ MORE: Stretched triple zero agency to be renamed and overhauled after 'damning' review

Slater and Gordon class actions Senior Associate Gemma Leigh-Dodds said systemic failures in how ESTA has run its call answering and dispatch operations date back to 2014.

"The health system has been under strain in recent years, but Victorians should always be able to register a call for help," she said.

"ESTA's critical role means its shortcomings are not just unfortunate, we believe they have led to multiple deaths and injuries that could have been prevented.

"In a critical health situation, minutes can be the difference between life and death, a one-off injury or a life-long medical condition. Callers are relying on ESTA to get medics on the scene as soon as possible."

Leigh-Dodds said they believed ESTA had breached its statutory and common law obligations by not providing its required service when callers expect to be connected to urgent medical help.

READ MORE: Driver critical, another injured after crash in Melbourne's west

She said the investigation was focusing on triple-zero calls for ambulance requests requiring a "code one" lights-and-sirens response that were not picked up by ESTA or were caught up in delays, and would also consider cases affected by delays dispatching an ambulance.

In a statement, the law firm said it was investigating whether those people impacted by ESTA's call handling services are entitled to compensation.

The investigation will also consider unreasonable delays by ESTA to connect callers to ambulances and dispatch the help needed.

Last week, it was announced ESTA would be renamed and its board disbanded after the public release into the authority.

The report into ESTA was handed down by former chief police commissioner Graham Ashton.

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