EDITORIAL: Vital campaign helping to save lives in Victoria

Our men and women in emergency services – whether police, ambulance or fire brigade – are busy enough keeping Ballarat safe without their time being taken up by non-emergency situations.

Lost minutes to these dedicated workers who have been called out to non-emergency cases could mean the difference between life and death in real emergencies.

So the latest phase in a campaign for people to call triple zero (000) for emergencies only is truly an important messages that should be heeded..

The next stage of the “Save Lives: Save 000 for Emergencies” began on our TV screens on Sunday. The aim of this latest message is to help paramedics respond faster and save more lives.

The campaign aims to encourage Victorians to remember the availability of healthcare services, whether that be hospital emergency departments, their own GPs, pharmacies and even nurse and doctor on-call phone services, when they are unwell or have a minor injury.

The media campaign highlights the “team” of healthcare professionals who are ready and able to manage non-urgent health care issues, round-the-clock. In doing so, it also aims to reduce the number of non-emergency calls to 000.

When an ambulance responds to a non-emergency, it takes paramedics away from time critical, life-threatening emergencies. In 2015/16, calls for ambulances grew by 5.7 per cent.

The hard-hitting first phase of the campaign featured a real-life case study of Will, a young boy whose life was saved by local and Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedics. Will’s life was saved because a MICA paramedic was available and not tied up with non-emergency calls.

Obviously the campaign is working, because since it started research shows 80 per cent (up from 73 per cent) of Victorians believe using an ambulance for a non-emergency is a misuse of the system.

The next time those calling an ambulance for conditions which could be seen by their own doctor or even an in-house pharmacy nurse, they need to consider how they would feel if they (or one of their family members or friends) could not be attended to straight away by ambulance officer because they were tied up with a non-emergency call-out.

  • The nurse-on-call number is 1300 60 60 24 for expert advice, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

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