WORKING WITH PARAMEDICS TO END THE AMBULANCE CRISIS

On its 100th day in office, the Andrews Government released its interim report “Working with Paramedics to End the Ambulance Crisis”.

Member for Macedon and Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas, visited Kyneton ambulance station to talk about the report’s findings with paramedics.

As part of a key election commitment to end the ambulance crisis, the Ambulance Performance and Policy Consultative Committee, of which Thomas is a member, was established to hear first-hand from paramedics and to make recommendations to improve Ambulance Victoria’s service performance and culture.

Delivering on the Government’s pledge to tell the truth about ambulance performance, Ms Thomas said the report releases data withheld by the former Liberal Government which shows that parts of Hepburn Shire have experienced some of the worst ambulance response times in Victoria. The Interim Report also shows that:

  • Ambulance response time performance has fallen dramatically over recent years
  • Dispatching an ambulance to a Code 1 incident in the metropolitan region takes, on average, one minute longer compared to six years ago
  • Public demand for emergency ambulance services has increased 5 per cent over the past six years
  • In recent years, almost 60 per cent of all emergency incidents were classified as Code 1, but on arrival paramedics found that a Code 1 response was not required
  • Paramedics are experiencing excessive fatigue, low morale and unacceptable injury and violence, with around 45 per cent of the workforce last year saying they would not recommend the service as a good place to work.

Ms Thomas said the Committee is now seeking feedback on the proposed reforms from paramedics and the community, with final recommendations to be provided to the Government by the end of the year. Proposed reforms include: Improving collaboration with health services for emergency patient care

  • Reviewing guidelines to facilitate paramedics decision making at the scene and on cases that do not require transport to an emergency department
  • Better understanding of the issues that impact on paramedics, including drivers behind low levels of staff satisfaction and culture
  • Reducing congestion at emergency departments
  • Improving community awareness about when to call Triple 0 for an ambulance
  • Improving transparency and accountability for public complaints
  • More accurately assessing patient needs during the call taking and dispatch process.

Ms Thomas said the Andrews Labor Government “is committed to investing $60 million in a Response Time Rescue Fund for ambulance services to support new initiatives to reduce response times, and a further $40 million to upgrade ambulance stations, equipment and vehicles”.

Ms Thomas said she had enjoyed the opportunity to personally meet with paramedics across Victoria in recent months including Woodend paramedic, Jan Einsiedel, who is also a member of the taskforce.

“Our paramedics are among the most dedicated and hard working people in our community. They deserve to be respected and supported so that they can save lives and do what they do best.”

“The Andrews Labor Government is working with paramedics, not against them, to end the ambulance crisis left behind by the Liberals,” Ms Thomas said.

The Interim Report can be found at www.health.vic.gov.au/ambulance

About the Ambulance Performance and Policy Consultative Committee:

Chaired by Minister Jill Hennessy, the Committee’s membership includes Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mary-Anne Thomas; paramedics Luke Baird, Colin Jones, Morgyn McCarthy-Harding and Jan Einsiedel; Ambulance Victoria Acting CEO Tony Walker and Administrator Howard Ronaldson; Western Health CEO Alex Cockram; Ambulance Employees Australia of Victoria General Secretary and Assistant Secretary Steve McGhie and Danny Hill; and Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Peter Fitzgerald.