The NT Government today released the response to the review of Road Ambulance Services in the Territory.
The review was commissioned last year to ensure Territorians have the best possible service into the future.
The review made 44 recommendations to address issues relating to:
- Contemporary best practice in the delivery of road ambulance services
- Future workforce requirements for a contemporary road ambulance service including the training, development and retention of the ambulance service workforce
- The interface between road ambulance services and other health related emergency service
- Future regulation of road ambulance services in the Northern Territory.
The Government has accepted the recommendations, supporting 27 of the recommendations and supporting the remaining 17 in principle.
Significant progress has already been made by the creation of a Duty Manager position within the Emergency Communications Centre (recommendation 3) and the establishment of the Critical Response Unit Intensive Care Paramedic capability (recommendation 8) from the trial model.
The independent reviewer found that bringing the road ambulance service under the Department of Health is not the right solution to address all the concerns and issues raised by the review.
Independent consultant, Professor Neale Fong, was engaged to undertake the review.
Health Minister Natasha Fyles said: “The team at St John Ambulance provide a vital service to Territorians and have done so for more than 20 years.
“The Government recognises that St Johns often work in challenging and stressful situations.
“This report was commissioned to make sure both service providers and the delivery of that service continue to excel into the future.
“While the review did find that the NT Road Ambulance Services is functioning satisfactorily, it noted that improvements are needed to move to a new stage of performance excellence.
“The Government has accepted all the recommendations, either in full support or in principle.
“I have tasked the Department of Health to begin work with all stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the review.
“Work has already progressed on a number of the recommendations – and all 44 will be implemented over the next two to three years to ensure a sustainable future for St John Ambulance.”
Meanwhile, the NT Government today announced Service Improvement Funding for the creation of a new Duty Manager position within the St John Ambulance Emergency Communication Centre and the continuation of the St John Ambulance NT Intensive Care Paramedic Critical Response Unit.
Launched in November last year as a trial, funded by St John Ambulance NT, the Critical Response Unit complements existing ambulance resource and focusses on rapid response, clinical assessment and advanced medical care.
St John Ambulance NT CEO Judith Barker said the trial period has enabled the organisation to make evidence-based decisions on the best application of resources.
“To achieve the best outcomes for critically unwell patients, progressive investment is crucial,” Ms Barker said. “Our intensive care paramedics are highly experienced clinicians with specialist skillsets and capabilities that have saved many lives throughout the Territory.
“We are excited that the NT Government will be funding the continuation of the Critical Response Unit in Darwin and Alice Springs and the creation of a new Duty Manager position within the St John Ambulance Emergency Communication Centre.
“St John Ambulance Emergency Medical Dispatchers answer on average 4500 Triple 000 emergency calls every month, with an average of 98% of the calls answered within 10 seconds.
“The new Communication Centre Duty Manager role will enable us to have an additional oversight to assist with the management of complex cases and it will support the dynamic movement of Ambulance resources and the Critical Response Unit.”