Investing in regional and rural ambulance services

Jeremy Rockliff,Premier

Minister for Health

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is continuing its work to create a responsive and accessible health system through significant investment in ambulance services.

Delivering on a key election commitment, the Dodges Ferry Ambulance Station has been upgraded to a double branch station and now functions with 24/7 rostered paramedic coverage, significantly boosting ambulance resources in the southern coastal area.

Equipping our regional and rural ambulance stations across the State to respond quickly to emergency situations, a further four stations are also planned for new construction – Oatlands, Bridgewater, Beaconsfield and Queenstown – with each set to provide paramedics with contemporary operating environments with on-site facilities, a training room, and a garage for two ambulances. The Campbell Town Ambulance Station will also be upgraded to a double branch station.

The 2021-2022 Tasmanian Budget also saw additional funding committed to the new Burnie and Glenorchy Ambulance Super Stations resulting in a total $19.5 million for these new builds. Both projects are scheduled to begin later this year and completed by 2024.

A further $9 million was allocated for new ambulance vehicles and equipment over three years. This has already resulted in the delivery of 20 new ambulances, with 10 more arriving before the end of May.

As we deliver upgrades to critical infrastructure in regional locations, we are continuing to grow our paramedic workforce with a $40.8 million investment to recruit more paramedics right around the State. Since 2021, we have delivered an additional 48 paramedic positions across Tasmania. This calendar year alone we have already welcomed 28 graduate paramedics and 6 casual patient transport officers, with 5 graduate and 1 qualified paramedic being inducted next month on full-time contracts.

As well as recruitment and critical upgrades, Ambulance Tasmania continues to implement innovations to provide patients with appropriate medical care through alternative service providers.

In the last year we have introduced both the Secondary Triage initiative to safely divert calls to alternative providers and the Police, Ambulance, Clinician Early Response (PACER) team to respond to identified mental health patients in crisis.

Both innovations are proving highly effective in enabling people to get the right care for their needs without requiring an emergency ambulance response or emergency department presentations with PACER having helped 286 people over the first 10 weeks of operation, resulting in 71 per cent of these people able to stay in the community.

Through these initiatives, we will continue to modernise and improve ambulance services to meet the needs of our population and our valued ambulance workforce – enabling Tasmanians to get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

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