• 1st Sep 2022

Paramedics have a vital role to play in the planned expansion of urgent care services in NSW and VIC


The College welcomes the New South Wales and Victorian governments’ joint announcement this week to establish a further 50 urgent care services to ease the pressure on ambulances and emergency departments, and is calling for paramedics to be included as a key support workforce.

In addition to reducing the burden on hospitals and emergency services, the extra 25 urgent care services in both states are also aimed at providing people with faster care for urgent but non-critical conditions and freeing up critical resources for patients with more serious needs, both of which are areas that paramedics are uniquely placed to address.

While the expansion of urgent care services is a necessary step forward in addressing the health system crisis, at this stage it’s unclear if the deployment of paramedics is being considered as a viable option to complement those services’ medical teams and improve longer-term patient treatment and care.

Paramedics are experts in unscheduled urgent care - it's what they do every day - and it is imperative that they are utilised to ensure these priority primary care services are a success. However, due to existing funding arrangements, at present they are often restricted to roles in emergency response with ambulance services, despite being ideally situated to work with GPs to deliver these services.

Paramedics need to be included in this planning to ensure their expertise is fully utilised and to help bolster comprehensive health service provision. With the continued shortage of GPs and other health professionals, particularly in regional and remote areas, now is the time to deploy paramedics outside of ambulance services as part of these GP-led healthcare teams.

Paramedicine has been a registered health profession for the past four years, and paramedics are consistently voted one of the most trusted professions by the community. They treat a wide variety of patient presentations, from the critical and urgent through to acute chronic conditions experienced every day by a growing percentage of the population.

Paramedics can play a vital role in the management and care of unplanned and acute patient conditions that make up the bulk of presentations to urgent care services. They have vast knowledge and a wide range of capabilities, a broad scope of practice, and are an essential part of the healthcare system but often not considered outside of a traditional ambulance service.

Paramedics are part of this solution, and we welcome the opportunity to work with both the NSW and Victorian governments in taking our place alongside our fellow healthcare professionals in these urgent care services.

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