Am­bos on job over new year

Euroa Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By WILL MUR­RAY

VIC­TO­RIAN Pre­mier Daniel An­drews, Health Min­is­ter Jill Hen­nessy and Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Ja­clyn Symes were all in Nagam­bie last week to wel­come a new 24-hour am­bu­lance ser­vice for the town.

The per­ma­nent am­bu­lance ser­vice comes in time for the busy sum­mer sea­son, when many peo­ple will be mak­ing their way to the lakes dur­ing their hol­i­days.

Pre­mier An­drews said the time was right to take the next step in terms of Nagam­bie’s emer­gency ser­vice ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

“The pop­u­la­tion here has been grow­ing year on year, and es­pe­cially dur­ing peak times like sum­mer there is an in­creased need for there to be a per­ma­nent ser­vice for Nagam­bie.”

“We are de­lighted to an­nounce this ser­vice for the com­mu­nity of Nagam­bie and to as­sist our in­cred­i­bly ded­i­cated vol­un­teer staff, many of whom thought they’d never see the day the town got a full-time am­bu­lance ser­vice.”

As well as the new am­bu­lance, Nagam­bie will now have 10 am­bu­lance com­mu­nity of­fi­cers (ACOs), who are trained to pro­vide ad­vanced first aid and also to trans­port pa­tients and a full-time para­medic dur­ing the busy sum­mer sea­son.

The sta­tion was for­merly staffed by Com­mu­nity Emer­gency Re­sponse Teams (CERTs), vol­un­teer re­spon­ders trained to pro­vide ba­sic care to a pa­tient while they wait for an am­bu­lance.

With­out the re­quired ve­hi­cle for pa­tient trans­port, re­spon­ders would have to wait for the near­est team to make their way to the site from out of town.

Ja­clyn Symes ar­gued that those in trou­ble could not af­ford to wait for an am­bu­lance to ar­rive from an­other town any longer.

“We know that in an emer­gency ev­ery sec­ond counts. That’s why we lis­tened to the Nagam­bie com­mu­nity and made sure they have the am­bu­lance ser­vice and emer­gency care they need, when they need it.”

While Health Min­is­ter Jill Hen­nessy praised the ef­forts of the vol­un­teer com­mu­nity teams, she told the Gazette that a more ad­vanced ser­vice was re­quired to cope with the in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the area to with hol­i­day­mak­ers.

“There are a cou­ple of is­sues we need to tackle be­fore they be­come a real prob­lem for the town,” Ms Hen­nessy said.

The surge of tourism has been great for the town, but also brings with it the un­for­tu­nate side-ef­fect of gen­er­at­ing a greater num­ber of in­ci­dents.

“The CERT teams had been do­ing a great job ser­vic­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity, but we need to be able to cater for the in­creas­ing num­ber of in­ci­dents we might face this sea­son and make sure ev­ery­one can feel safe com­ing here with an Am­bu­lance close by.”

Bec Hance is the Am­bu­lance Vic­to­ria team man­ager for the re­gion, and is based in Murchi­son.

She wel­comed the per­ma­nent ser­vice fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful trial last year.

“It’s not only great for the com­mu­nity, but also for our vol­un­teer ACOs to have a para­medic and am­bu­lance here dur­ing the sum­mer,” Ms Hance said.

“For them it’s a great op­por­tu­nity to de­velop their skills and learn from a more ex­pe­ri­enced, highly trained of­fi­cer.

“When we have skills trans­fer and greater ex­pe­ri­ence for our vol­un­teers it makes ev­ery­one safer.”

PHOTO: Will Mur­ray

WEL­COM­ING PARTY: Pre­mier Daniel An­drews paid a visit to Nagam­bie to help wel­come the 24 hour am­bu­lance ser­vice. Pic­tured are (from left) Bec Hance – team man­ager para­medic Murchi­son/Nagam­bie, Phillip Harper – para­medic Nagam­bie, John Mor­ris – group man­ager West­ern Hume Am­bu­lance Vic­to­ria (AV), Michael Stephen­son – gen­eral man­ager Emer­gency Op­er­a­tions AV, Tanya Sul­li­van – am­bu­lance com­mu­nity of­fi­cer Nagam­bie, Ja­clyn Symes (MLC, North­ern Vic­to­ria) Tina Davis – am­bu­lance com­mu­nity of­fi­cer Nagam­bie, Daniel An­drews – Pre­mier of Vic­to­ria, Jill Hen­nessy – Min­is­ter for Am­bu­lance Ser­vices/Health, Matt Chad­ban – re­gional direc­tor Hume – AV.

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