Health Minister Roger Cook today announced the first phase of implementation of the Country Ambulance Strategy will include six new ambulances and a two-year pilot to put paid paramedics into the Kimberley.
The announcement follows the Minister’s formal launch of the State’s first-ever forward- looking plan to strengthen ambulance services in country Western Australia as commissioned by the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Board.
Of the $9.2 million earmarked, $1.6 million will see six brand new ambulances – with state-of-the-art communications and safety technology – added to the Kimberley fleet.
To further strengthen services to remote communities, a two-year, $2 million pilot will be implemented to trial three paid professional paramedics in Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Derby.
In addition, WACHS will continue working closely with St John Ambulance, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and metropolitan hospitals to improve patient flow and co-ordination with a $5.6 million investment in digital technologies.
The $9.2 million investment delivers the first phase of The Country Ambulance Strategy – Striving for Equity in Country WA.
The Strategy was the result of the most extensive community consultation ever undertaken in relation to country ambulance services.
A three-month consultation phase and 120 community workshops saw almost 1,000 submissions received from community members, health providers and stakeholders. It was launched to the community in November 2019.
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“I am proud to deliver on our commitment to implement WA’s first long-term plan to strengthen country ambulance services.
“While we have always had a long-term vision for improving ambulance services for regional residents, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that Kimberley communities may be particularly vulnerable to pressures on services.
“Six new ambulances, along with trialing paid paramedics, will boost ambulance services in some of WA’s most remote areas.
“Here, I must also acknowledge the thousands of dedicated country ambulance volunteers who are the lifeblood of many regional communities, providing more than 2.8 million hours annually.
“Improved State-wide co-ordination will benefit communities right across country WA and continues our trusted partnership with St John Ambulance WA and Royal Flying Doctor Service.”