Resourcing regional paramedic demand

QUESTION WITHOUT NOTICE

September 14, 2021

Tania MAXWELL (Northern Victoria) 11:37:

My question is to the Minister for Emergency Services, Ms Symes:

Minister, congratulations on your new portfolio. As you know, Northern Victoria has some of the greatest gains to make in the state to improve ambulance response times.

We know our ambulance workforce is committed to the care of their patients, but regional services are challenged by increased demand, hospital ramping and geography.

Minister, in a meeting with the Health and Community Services Union last week, my office was told there are approximately 1000 paramedics in Victoria who are trying to obtain work in the system. 

Ambulance Victoria has only allocated 56 more paramedics for rural Victoria as part of the 300 committed (new) positions in the past 12 months. This is despite a 26 per cent increase in code 1 callouts for local government areas in Northern Victoria, compared with the same time last year.

Minister, will the government allocate more paramedics to regional Victoria to help meet this massive increase in demand?

Ms SYMES:

I thank Ms Maxwell for her question. I am the Minister for Emergency Services, but I act for Minister Foley, who is the Minister for Ambulance Services. So I will seek an answer in relation to the provision of paramedics from Minister Foley. I do thank you for your question, and there has been record investment and recruitment of paramedics. I recognise the same issues that you do in our shared electorate in relation to areas that are seeking to have additional resources, so I would be quite interested in the answer as well. So I will seek those details and provide them to the house.

Ms MAXWELL:

Thank you, Attorney. Ambulance Victoria is currently in talks with the CFA about delivering a first-response program in partnership with a number of regional brigades. This will be welcome news to Kiewa CFA, who have put their hand up for a pilot as first aid responders. Could the minister please update the house on those talks, if possible?

Ms SYMES:

Thank you, Ms Maxwell, for your supplementary question, which crosses more over into my portfolio as opposed to the Minister for Ambulance Services, but I might take that on notice and get you an update of the emergency medical response rollout, because I have only received preliminary briefings and I am not in a position to provide specific locations of where that might be rolled out to. I can assure you that I have heard that many brigades in regional Victoria are very keen to take on that role, but in terms of specific locations I am more than happy to provide you some more information in relation to that matter.

Thank you, President, and thank you, Minister. Ambulance Victoria is currently in talks with the Country Fire Authority about delivering a first response program in partnership with a number of regional brigades. This will be welcome news to Kiewa CFA, which has put its hand up for a pilot as first aid responders. Could the Minister please update the house on these talks?