19 June, 2022
Paramedics call for transport changes
The NSW Paramedics Association is pushing for a rethink in non-urgent patient transport, in response to the rural health inquiries recommendations.
“We are quite happy with all the recommendations
that the health inquiry made,” said local vice president
of the association Scott Beaton.
“But as a union, what we'd like is for the government
to act on those recommendations as soon as possible
and not wait until November to give their reply to how
they're going to actually fix the issues of regional and
One of the main concerns for the union is the constant
traveling for non-urgent cases.
“So transporting patients from other hospitals,
whether it be Gilgandra, or Gulargambone, or
Coonamble down to Dubbo, in the middle of the night,
when those people could probably have patient transport
taking them. However patient transport doesn't
operate 24 hours,” said Mr Beaton.
A lot of these transfers don’t need an emergency
ambulance, according to the union, and using that vehicle
is inhibiting actual emergency cases.
“As soon as we go out to transfer to Dubbo, we are at least two hours away from the town, leaving no ambulance available. Because here, or in Coonamble, or wherever it is, there's only one car, one crew available at any one time. It makes it very hard. So if someone does have an emergency, they've got to wait for another ambulance to come from another town. And that then leaves the community uncovered for too long,” said Mr Beaton.
“That’s not to mention there's obviously also the
need for more intensive care paramedics and extended
care paramedics in regional and rural areas.”
As well as increased patient transport availability,
the union wants to see more patient transport officers,
and putting on more nurses to go into vehicles.
“Even comparing the use of patient transport in
metropolitan areas, they have registered paramedics
who work on the patient transport vehicles, in the nonemergency
setting, to do the non-urgent transfers
around different between the different hospitals.
“Why can't we put a similar system out here? These
private contractors work in metro, but no private contractors
work in regional NSW at this stage,” said Mr
He also expressed that it is great to have 1800 more paramedics coming over the next four years, and believes that while it will certainly assist, there is still a lot more to happen to fix the crisis.