New year, new resources bolstering care and coverage

Ambulance Victoria has today welcomed a $14.8 million funding injection to increase ambulance services and improve access to care across the state.

Ambulance Victoria CEO Associate Professor Tony Walker said today’s announcement in Bendigo by the state government is a win-win, both for our organisation and the community.

“The last three months of 2020 saw significant demand on the healthcare system as Victorians emerged from almost eight months of restrictions and we were not exception to this,” Associate Prof. Walker said.

“While last year presented many challenges as we responded to the bushfires and COVID-19, 2021 will be just as busy on our service as we strive to meet the health needs of Victorians.

“This funding will enable us to bring forward several initiatives slated for 2022/23 to this year and target additional resources to areas where they will have the greatest impact on our service performance. These include:

  • establishing 16 Peak Period Units relieving pressure on crews in busy periods
  • converting Daylesford and Bannockburn branches from on call to 24-hour on shift coverage
  • converting Beechworth branch from single paramedic to dual paramedic crewing
  • converting our Chiltern team to a single paramedic on call location with Ambulance Community Officer support
  • adding 12 triage practitioners to our Operational Communications team to assist more patients with alternative care pathways, and
  • recruiting 77 graduate paramedics with 20 already on road this month to fill rural and regional vacancies.

Associate Prof. Walker said Peak Period Units will be placed at Bellarine Peninsula (receiving two MICA paramedics), Eaglehawk, Churchill, Gisborne, Benalla, Lakes Entrance, Torquay, Castlemaine, Bannockburn, Epping, Tarneit, Mernda, Craigieburn, Boronia, Templestowe and Bayside.

“These units will be staffed by two Advanced Life Saving paramedics seven days per week to help us continue to provide the right care to our patients in times of peak demand which are often at night-time and in the early hours of the morning,” he said.

“We have targeted where these extra resources are deployed across our system, informed by our own data and other agencies’, for instance, Eaglehawk in Bendigo continues to grow in population.

“I’m also pleased that as part of this announcement, we will be returning staff who were assisting DHHS with contact tracing and other important work to their frontline delivering patient care.”

Victoria Ambulance Union General Secretary Danny Hill said he was very pleased with the new investment which will be targeted to areas such as Bendigo and other rural centres.

“We are pleased with today’s announcement and thank the government for working with us and Ambulance Victoria to deliver these initiatives,” Mr Hill said.

“It’s a smart and targeted package which delivers new resources such as Peak Period Units in busy locations and adding triage service staff to make an impact in reducing work for crews on road.”

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