Paramedic response on the improve

Residents needing an emergency ambulance in Ballarat are guaranteed some of the quickest response times in the state, latest data shows. 

Ballarat local government area recorded an average response time of 11 minutes 52 seconds for all code one responses. Paramedics in this area responded to 5963 code 1 first response jobs between 2015-16, with 83.9 per cent within the 15 minute response time. 

State-wide ambulance response times are the best they have been in five years the Ambulance Victoria 2015-16 Annual Report showed. Ambulance chair Ken Lay said a range of strategies were continuously  being implemented to improve response times.  

“Ambulance Victoria has never met its response time targets. A range of strategies are being implemented to improve response times, including a major piece of work that safely re-codes many of our emergency responses,” Mr Lay said.

“This should improve overall response times as well as ensure ambulances are available when there is a genuine time-critical medical emergency.”

The report shows 75.2 per cent of Code One incidents are now responded to within 15 minutes, compared to 2012-13 where they fell to a record 73 per cent at the height of the ambulance crisis, the government says.

Ambulance minister Jill Hennessy said the introduction of emergency medical response to non-breathing or no-pulse patient by CFA firefighters at integrated stations would continue to drive down response times.

“We’re turning that around with the best response times in five years,” Ms Hennessy said.

“We’ll continue to work side by side with our paramedics, ambulance service and hospitals to invest in and reform our ambulance system.”

Ambulance Employees Association secretary Steve McGhie previously told The Courier the quicker times were fantastic and, while there was still a fair bit of improvement to make, figures backed up the significant difference new triage processes and changing dispatch grids. 

Additional non-emergency resources have also helped to ease paramedics’ non-urgent case loads.