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$125 million investment in Ambulance Services

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health

A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal Government will recruit an extra 62 paramedics and operations centre staff which represents an increase of more than 15 per cent.
We consider health a priority and an extra $125 million into Ambulance Services over the next six years clearly demonstrates our resolve to better support patients and paramedics.
Of this funding $60 million will be invested over the first three years which will include the completion of all capital projects and the recruitment of 56 staff.
Such a major investment is only possible because we have got the Budget back into balance.
Our commitment for the next term of Government builds on the significant investment we have already made over the past four years which includes 53 additional paramedics.
Supercharge Aeromedical Helicopter Service to save more lives
A re-elected Hodgman Liberal Government will establish and staff Tasmania’s first integrated medical and search and rescue helicopter service, with dedicated flight paramedics and specialist retrieval doctors.
This will include dedicated resources based at Hobart airport, allowing quicker response times and ensuring patients start to receive high acuity care from the moment the helicopter lands, rather than having to wait until they arrive in hospital.
Dedicated flight paramedics will mean an ambulance crew is no longer taken off the road when the emergency helicopter goes out, and flight paramedics would be rostered to support road crews during quiet times, bringing down ambulance response times in Southern Tasmania.
This service will dramatically improve response times, with an expected median activation time of 10-minutes for high priority search and rescue, and medical responses - an improvement on 42 minutes compared to the current service.
Staffing for the service will include 14 additional full-time paramedics, 5.5 FTE specialist retrieval doctors dedicated to the service, 5.7 nurses and 4.5 FTE paediatric registrar doctors, and other support staff.
Funding will also provide for additional flight hours enabling the service to undertake additional medical missions and search and rescue missions.
State Operations Centre Boost
A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal Government will boost staffing in the Ambulance Tasmania State Operations Centre by an additional six full-time staff to meet growing demand.

The Ambulance Tasmania State Operations Centre is integral to all aspects of ambulance service delivery with responsibility for coordination of emergency pre-hospital care and transport, medical and health escort services.
Secondary Triage of Ambulance Tasmania calls
A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal Government will fully roll out a Secondary Triage of Ambulance Tasmania calls to ensure patients not requiring emergency intervention are referred to an appropriate health service, keeping paramedic resources available for emergency calls.
Secondary triage recognises that not everyone who calls for an ambulance requires emergency care, but many have a medical need and we need to help them get the right care, in the right place, which in many instances is not at hospital.
Once fully operational, the secondary triage service will be assessing almost 22,000 calls per year and has the potential to divert up to 16,000 patients to alternate service providers.
More Paramedics in Regional Areas
A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal Government will recruit an additional 42 paramedics to improve services and reduce fatigue in regional areas around Tasmania, which will provide 24 hour on duty coverage in communities and better support our volunteers.
These new staff will be recruited progressively based on greatest need, with all 14 stations upgraded by 2022.
Rural Hospital and Ambulance Station Upgrade Fund
A re-elected majority Hodgman Liberal Government will provide $15 million for capital improvements at Tasmania’s rural and regional hospitals.
This is the same funding that the Labor Party would spend on medihotels over three years, where sick Tasmanians would be put into hotel rooms in Tasmania’s cities.
Rather than undermine the viability of our rural and regional hospitals, we will invest that funding in better facilities for staff and patients in our rural hospital and paramedics and volunteers at rural ambulance stations.
It is estimated that $5 million will be spent on ambulance stations, but the final allocations of funding will be based on greatest need. This is in addition to $12 million on new greenfield ambulance stations at Glenorchy and Burnie.
Other initiatives include:
Community Defibrillator Fund - for an additional 180 community defibrillators over two years.
Volunteer Support Package - $800,000 pa which includes reimbursement of out of pocket expenses, enhanced training and equipment and better recognition of skills.
New Training Equipment and Stretchers - $1 million for new equipment to support patient safety including new training dummies and new Smart Stretchers that help reduce secondary injuries.
We recognise that by supporting our paramedics we are helping to save lives.
Only a majority Hodgman Liberal Government will deliver the health system Tasmanians need and deserve.

For more details on our investment in Ambulance Services: