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Patient wait times improve in Grampians region

Ambulance Victoria’s latest data shows paramedics are reaching the most critically-ill patients faster in the Grampians region than a year ago. 

Paramedics attended 79.5 percent of code-one patients in Horsham Rural City municipality within 15 minutes, which was the second-best result in the state.

Grampians regional and clinical operations director Peter Jenkins attributed the performance improvement to more paramedics and people in the community accessing alternative and ‘virtual’ care services.

The improvements apply to calls made in the Horsham Rural City, Ararat Rural City, Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack, Ballarat, Moorabool, Golden Plains and Hepburn local government areas. 

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Mr Jenkins said July to September was the fourth-busiest quarter in the organisation’s history, with ambulances called to 96,594 code-one cases – 2002 more than a year ago. 

“Despite this high demand, ambulances arrived at ‘lights and sirens’ cases on average 23 seconds faster than a year ago and 52 seconds faster than the previous quarter,” he said. 

Paramedics attended 53.2 percent of code-one patients within 15 minutes in Hindmarsh shire –  up from 43.8 percent a year earlier, which is the fourth largest improvement in the state.

Compared to the previous year, response times to code-one patients in Yarriambiack shire were one minute and nine seconds faster.

Mr Jenkins said more paramedics were safely referring people to the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department, VVED, which supported patients to get appropriate care at home and ease pressure on the health system.

“This avoids unnecessary trips to hospital and helps us get back on the road quicker to attend more life-threating emergencies,” Mr Jenkins said.

Acting chief operations officer Anthony Carlyon said the community had helped reduce demand by saving 000 for emergencies and accessing alternative options for less urgent cases.

“If it is non-life-threatening, you can connect directly with emergency doctors and nurses at the VVED from anywhere in Victoria, at any time,” Mr Carlyon said.

“Other options also include your local priority primary care centre, your GP or pharmacist, or nurse-on-call on 1300 60 60 24.” 

He said about one-in-five calls to 000 did not require an emergency response. 

“From July to September, 36,566 people who did not need an emergency ambulance were instead connected by paramedics and nurses in our secondary triage team to more appropriate care,” he said. 

“Every call that isn’t an emergency puts significant strain on our crews to reach those who need us the most, which is why we’ve tripled the size of our secondary triage team.” 

The entire November 15, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!