Secondary triage – better care for patients

Sarah Courtney,Minister for Health

Ambulance Tasmania will this week begin implementing the initial stages of its secondary triage protocols for 000 calls, delivering on the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to invest even further into ambulance services.

Used extensively interstate and overseas, secondary triage builds on the existing clinical assessment by Ambulance Tasmania’s highly trained staff. Paramedics and nurses will provide secondary triage by speaking directly with patients when a 000 call comes in and connecting them immediately to appropriate health services, to ensure the caller gets the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

We know that not every call to Ambulance Tasmania requires a paramedic-led emergency response, and this will not only ensure patients receive the appropriate care, but also means our ambulances and paramedics are reserved for genuine emergency situations.

Importantly, if a call is assessed as an emergency requiring an ambulance response, one will be dispatched, just as always.

The Government has committed $13.8 million over six years to establish the service, which is anticipated to assess thousands of calls per annum and has the potential to divert up to 16,000 patients to alternate service providers, providing more care and health advice for the community.

Tasmanians can have confidence that secondary triage will not only help people access appropriate medical care, it will also provide better supports for our paramedics, help our resources respond more efficiently to emergencies, as well as avoiding transport to hospital emergency departments when it is not required.

Ambulance Tasmania will commence the initial rollout of secondary triage state-wide from tomorrow, which will be supported by a community awareness campaign starting with a series of television ads to provide community information about this important new feature of Ambulance Tasmania services.

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