New era for ambulance services to deliver contemporary care

  • McGowan Government outlines historic plan to overhaul ambulance service delivery
  • Response to Parliamentary inquiry into ambulance services endorses 46 recommendations
  • Increases collaboration between WA Health and St John to improve emergency care
  • Country ambulance service model to be modernised to better meet community needs
  • Enhanced performance and transparency measures for St John Ambulance
  • The McGowan Government has outlined a plan to overhaul ambulance service delivery in Western Australia to better meet the needs of the community, in a landmark response to the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Public Administration’s Inquiry into the Delivery of Ambulance Services in WA.

    Tabled in Parliament today, the response, entitled A New Century for Ambulance Services, sets out the Government’s strategy to re-vamp ambulance services in WA in partnership with St John Ambulance.

    The historic plan will enhance collaboration between WA Health and St John to improve access to emergency care while strengthening performance and accountability measures.

    Of the 48 recommendations made by the Committee, 46 have received support or in-principle support and will be implemented through 28 actions across five themes:

    • working together to improve emergency access – to review triage accuracy, improve coordination of ambulance dispatch, divert patients to more clinically appropriate alternative care pathways, and enhance competition in inter-hospital patients transfers;
    • a more contemporary contract which includes introducing new performance management measures, strengthening clinical oversight, and improving transparency on how public funds are spent;
    • a new service delivery model for country ambulance that moves away from the ‘best endeavours’ model and trials innovative new workforce models;
    • improving access and equity by exploring options to address the financial impost of ambulance fees for vulnerable members of the community, enhance remote communities’ access to services and ensure services are culturally safe; and
    • strengthening governance, transparency, and accountability to ensure St John meets best practice in board governance and performance.

    The State Government will report annually to Parliament on the status of each action and the performance of St John Ambulance against Key Performance Indicators set out in the new contract.

    An evaluation of St John WA’s performance in implementing the new measures in late 2025 will also consider whether the contract delivers sufficient value for WA taxpayers to warrant its longer-term continuation.

    As stated by Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:

    “I thank the Committee – including members of the Liberal-National coalition opposition and crossbench – for its unanimous report.

    “We must ensure that our ambulance service meets the needs of the Western Australian community now and into the future, and the McGowan Government has a plan to do just that.

    “The Standing Committee on Public Administration’s inquiry and recent events have shown there is a clear need to fundamentally enhance the relationship between the Department of Health and St John WA, and our response sets out a pathway for greater collaboration.

    “This starts with a stronger partnership and a more contemporary contract encompassing an active role for Government with much stronger performance management.”

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