Am­bos’ job no is­land hol­i­day

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

MAG­NETIC Is­land’s sin­gle­of­fi­cer am­bu­lance sta­tion has re­sponded to al­most 6000 in­ci­dents in five years, the equiv­a­lent of treat­ing its en­tire pop­u­la­tion nearly three times.

That rate of re­sponse is higher than one of the high­est pop­u­lated is­lands off Bris­bane.

Right to In­for­ma­tion doc­u­ments ob­tained by the Bul­letin show Mag­netic Is­land’s am­bu­lance sta­tion at Nelly Bay re­sponded to 5975 in­ci­dents in the five years end­ing June 30.

The lat­est Cen­sus data re­vealed there were 2235 peo­ple liv­ing on the is­land off Townsville, with an av­er­age age of 54.

By com­par­i­son, Rus­sell Is­land, be­tween Bris­bane and North Strad­broke Is­land, with a pop­u­la­tion of 2836 and av­er­age age of 55, had 5133 am­bu­lance re­sponses to in­ci­dents.

Both is­lands’ am­bu­lance sta­tions are staffed by a sin­gle ad­vanced care para­medic work­ing on an eight- day- on, six- day- off ros­ter, and also on­call dur­ing the night.

The last ma­jor in­ci­dent the Mag­netic Is­land sta­tion re­sponded to was in June, when two men were killed and a woman was in­jured in a Mini Moke crash at Nelly Bay.

A doc­tor and nurse from a Queens­land Health clinic were called in to also pro­vide sup­port af­ter that in­ci­dent.

Townsville Lo­cal Am­bu­lance Ser­vice Net­work as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner Rob­bie Medlin said the two paramedics who ro­tated du­ties on Mag­netic Is­land were well sup­ported by Queens­land Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices and had a good un­der­stand­ing of the needs of res­i­dents and vis­i­tors.

“Mag­gie Is­land is a ru­ral lo­ca­tion so you can quite of­ten do noth­ing or some­times you might have five or six jobs in a day,” he said.

“We think the sta­tion is ad­e­quately staffed at this point.”

Mr Medlin said for ma­jor events or hol­i­days, QAS un­der­took risk as­sess­ment to de­ter­mine if more paramedics would be re­quired.

“If there is some­thing like a Full Moon Party or school hol­i­days there are more peo­ple that could ex­pe­ri­ence ill­ness or in­jury,” he said. “The key to suc­cess in re­gional and ru­ral lo­ca­tions is al­ways the net­work you build around you in the com­mu­nity and un­der­stand­ing their needs.”

Thuringowa MP and former para­medic Aaron Harper was pre­vi­ously sta­tioned on Mag­netic Is­land.

“It’s such a beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tion and ev­ery­one also works very well if some­thing se­ri­ous does hap­pen,” he said. “We all the know the sys­tems in place and QAS can utilise the he­li­copter and fer­ries.”

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