Western Australia Minister for Health Kim Hames
State Budget 2010-11: New Ambulances And Staff For Emergency Care
Victor P Taffa
The State Government has strengthened emergency ambulance services in Western Australia with an additional $149.6 Million over four years, which will result in 25 new vehicles, more staff and improvements to the St. John Ambulance communication centre.
Health Minister Kim Hames said the funding allocated in the 2010-11 Budget would address the 13 recommendations of the 2009 St. John Ambulance Inquiry, which aimed to improve the ambulance service.
“WA has one of the most cost-efficient and effective ambulance networks in Australia, but there are still gaps.” Dr. Hames said.
“The Liberal-National Government has a responsibility to improve ambulance services and response times.”
The Minister said $26.1 Million had come from the Liberal-National Government’s Royalties for Regions program, which would be used specifically to fund new ambulances in Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Wyndham, Marble Bar and Nullagine.
“We will also improve support for our volunteers and provide subsidies to Aboriginal communities when they require an ambulance service, which will ultimately improve health care for patients.” the Minister said.
Dr. Hames said response times were expected to fall significantly, including:
- Priority 1 responses (ambulance travel to an emergency call using its lights and sirens) to improve from 15.65 minutes to 15 minutes;
- Priority 2 responses (ambulance travel to an urgent call not requiring use of lights and sirens) from 27.93 minutes to 25 minutes;
- Priority 3 (ambulance call that is not Priority 1, Priority 2 or Priority 4 with the latter being an ambulance call booked to arrive at a predetermined time) from 91.34 minutes to 60 minutes.
The Department of Health is currently negotiating a three-year agreement with St. John Ambulance, due to start in 2010-11, to improve performance through additional investment.