• 24th May 2023

Op-ed: Paramedics can play bigger role in health outcomes


In a new op-ed in the Daily Telegraph, College Chair Ryan Lovett questions why paramedics were again overlooked in the 2023 federal budget.

The op-ed, “Paramedics can play bigger role in health outcomes”, highlighted that the while budget was full of healthcare headlines, there was little detail revealed about how the health system would be improved, what the government’s touted innovative new models of team-based care would look like, how they would be resourced, and, importantly, why paramedics were not mentioned as part of these initiatives. In lieu of detail, the document “succumbed to sweeping statements that left little hope for real-life change”.

“Paramedics can provide the workforce support and capability that is needed in those primary and urgent care teams to help meet the system demands, ease workforce pressures and improve person-centred care.

“What paramedics can offer primary and urgent care models - effective immediately - are extended hours, efficient triage, and high-quality top of scope patient treatment, just to name a few. In some pockets of the country there are already community paramedics supporting GP-led, team-based primary care centres and making meaningful change to health workforce capacity and patient outcomes, particularly in rural and remote locations. This, and similar, models have been incredibly effective in the UK, Canada and New Zealand because they were co-designed with healthcare practitioners and the communities they serve, meeting real needs rather than the top-down approach of telling communities what they need, which appears to only serve budget line items.

“By including community paramedics in primary and urgent care models, some direct impacts we could expect would include reduced patient wait times, increased service capacity and improved health outcomes for patients overall. It would also ease strain on GP capacity as paramedics would be able to support emergency presentations, chronic disease care, preventative care and coaching.

“The time for meaningful healthcare change is now. The wellbeing of the health workforce is critically important, patient access and health outcomes are critically important, and the details of primary and urgent care funding allocation and models of care are critically important. For an effective primary and urgent health system that improves health outcomes for people across Australia, paramedics need to be part of the picture.”

Read the full op-ed at: https://dailytel.pressreader.com/article/281762748622839

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