South Australians in the regions are benefitting from another boost to their ambulance services, with 14 new graduate paramedics hitting the road – further strengthening emergency care for regional communities.
Angaston, Victor Harbor, Renmark, Berri, Port Pirie, Whyalla, Millicent, Naracoorte, Murray Bridge, Port Lincoln and Port Augusta have all welcomed new paramedics through the SA Ambulance Service (SAAS)’s Graduated Paramedic Pathway (GPP).
The 14 graduates are the second group to complete the pathway, bringing the total number of GPP recruits to 32. The pathway gives experienced and qualified ambulance officers the opportunity to gain tertiary paramedicine qualifications and begin their paramedic career.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the new recruits hit the road last week and are in addition to SAAS’s annual recruitment of intern paramedics, which has doubled in 2022 and will be maintained at that higher level again in 2023.
“Our 14 new recruits are undertaking Diploma level courses delivered by Central Queensland University, whilst at the same time working for SAAS and gaining valuable experience on the road under the guided support of paramedic mentors,” said Minister Wade.
“This is just one of a range of initiatives being implemented to deliver more paramedics to country South Australia and support our regional communities.
“In our first two years, the Marshall Liberal Government added an additional 169 full-time equivalent positions to SAAS. The latest State Budget included $45 million over four years to recruit and additional 74 paramedics, around one-third of whom bolstered the workforce in our regions. In early February, the Government provided another $30 million to secure a further 51 paramedics, all of whom will be on the road within 12 months.
“There are now more paramedics, ambulance officers and Triple Zero call takers in South Australia than ever before.
“We have also delivered 65 new or upgraded stations across the state over the past four years – because our world-class paramedics deserve the facilities to match.”
SA Ambulance Service Acting Executive Director of Country Operations Robert Tolson said the pathway had been very successful to date, attracting candidates from a range of backgrounds, including some who have previously been volunteers for SAAS.
“The introduction of a pathway for our ambulance officers to become qualified paramedics gives them the option to study and gain valuable skills and paramedic experience, whilst on the job,” said Mr Tolson.
“Paramedicine is a very highly regarded profession and it is absolutely fantastic that we have been able to offer those who already have a passion for healthcare the opportunity to be our paramedics of the future and stay in regional communities.
“We are delighted to welcome our new recruits to SAAS.”