South Australians will benefit from additional ambulance resources as SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) has released its COVID-Ready Plan.
The Plan expands the paramedic workforce by preparing a ‘super group’ of up to 100 final-year students and employing 96 interns (double the 48 originally planned for 2022).
The Plan includes a raft of measures such as additional Triple Zero (000) call takers, fast-tracked recruitment of qualified paramedics, partnerships with other emergency services to increase rural capacity and increased single emergency response cars.
SAAS is also preparing to commence a non-ambulance transport service for a small number of predicted COVID-19 patients.
Final year paramedic science students will complete ambulance driver training as soon as next week to boost SAAS resources as borders open.
The future paramedics, from Flinders University, will be trained immediately so they can be on the road if required, driving non-urgent patients with support from existing patient transport officers. They may also assist in routine transport of COVID-19 patients within community care pathways.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the SAAS Plan will increase the number of ambulances and qualified paramedics that are available to the community.
“As we move towards our vaccination targets and opening our borders, we are making sure that our ambulance system is ready to manage any increases in demand due to COVID-19, as well as being able to respond to day-to-day medical emergencies,” said Minister Wade.
“By fast-tracking student training, we’re not only getting these ambitious future paramedics on the road sooner, we are also supporting SAAS to respond to emergency patients.”
Minister Wade said the it was fantastic to see so many paramedic students and graduates put their hand up to protect the community.
Further measures include streaming of non-urgent medical calls to alternative services including virtual care via telehealth, bolstering ambulance service equipment and fleet vehicles, as well as the use of private providers and other agencies if required.
SAAS Interim Chief Executive Officer Rob Elliott, said they want South Australians to know that, once our borders reopen, SAAS will be ready for anyone that needs emergency care.
“Final year university students will be able to support experienced ambulance officers with low acuity patients and our paramedic interns and experienced paramedic recruits are being fast tracked into the community for emergency responses,” he said.
To find out more about SAAS, head to their website.