• 8th Dec 2022

NSW government report on ambulance ramping recommends greater utilisation of paramedics in health system


Thursday 8 December 2022

The Australasian College of Paramedicine (the College) fully supports the recommendations tabled in the NSW parliament today that call for greater paramedic representation, workplace flexibility, career opportunities, and improved workforce wellbeing.

The College is deeply concerned about the crisis facing the health sector and its workforce, and is actively lobbying with governments and stakeholders to utilise paramedics more widely across the health system to help ease ambulance ramping and to improve person-centred care.

The College was represented at the NSW Inquiry into ambulance ramping and access block in October - the forerunner of today’s ‘Impact of ambulance ramping and access block in the operation of hospital emergency department in New South Wales’ report - by CEO John Bruning and Advocacy and Government Relations Lead Michelle Murphy ASM. The College’s submission to the inquiry identified the following impacts on patients: Delays in assessment and treatment, increased risk of exposure to error, increased length of hospital stays, worse health outcomes, and increased inpatient mortality.

Mr Bruning told the parliamentary committee that the health system had not fully appreciated that paramedicine had been a registered health profession since 2018 and that paramedics had the potential to contribute more to community healthcare than was currently the case. He said the report recommendations recognised the broader roles paramedics can play in both out-of-hospital and primary care.

“The report is an acknowledgement of the high-quality care paramedics deliver to our communities and the importance of investing in the paramedic workforce through initiatives that support career opportunities, wellbeing and workplace flexibility,” said College CEO John Bruning.

“Ambulance ramping and access block signal a health system in distress, and the key issue is the inability of the community to access the right care in the right place at the right time.”

The College also welcomes the recommendation to appoint a Chief Paramedic Officer based on the Victorian model to provide leadership and insight, and ensure the profession has a seat at the table to represent paramedics and the paramedicine profession.

The report recommendations supporting paramedics:

-That NSW Health ensure that every hospital that experiences bed block provides dedicated paramedic work zones out of the elements.

-That the NSW Government abolish the wages cap for state sector employees, including junior doctors, paramedics, nurses, midwives and other healthcare staff, and move to a system of productivity-based bargaining, to deliver fair wages, productivity growth and better public services to the people of New South Wales

-That the NSW Government appoint a Chief Paramedic Officer based on the model in Victoria.

-That the NSW Government invest in and expand the Extended Care Paramedic program with a focus on assisting patients in aged care facilities, along with greater efforts to extend the program to rural and remote New South Wales.

-That the NSW Government remove all location limits to allow Extended Care Paramedics and Intensive Care Paramedics to retain their qualifications when transferring to a regional location.

-That the NSW Government continue to engage with the Commonwealth Government at a ministerial level on out of hospital care alternatives to improve patient flow, including access to GP services, and admission and discharge of aged care residents and NDIS participants.

Media Contact: Lindsey Salas, Good Talent Media, on 0416 335 886 or Lindsey@goodtalent.com.au

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