Bud­get life­line for ambos

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - LINDA SIL­MALIS CHIEF RE­PORTER

THE am­bu­lance ser­vice’s dan­ger­ously an­ti­quated emer­gency ra­dio net­work will be brought up to date as part of a $990 mil­lion Bud­get over­haul.

The state gov­ern­ment will con­trib­ute $5.6 mil­lion to­wards the Crit­i­cal Com­mu­ni­ca­tions En­hance­ment Pro­gram, ad­dress­ing paramedics’ de­mands for a sin­gle, shared, statewide ra­dio net­work to match po­lice and fire­fight­ers.

Also in­cluded in the pack­age are two new city “su­per­sta­tions” at Car­ing­bah, in Syd­ney’s south, and Haber­field, in the in­ner west, along with five rural am­bu­lance sta­tions at Berry, Mo­long, Basin View, Bathurst and Kiama.

A fur­ther $4 mil­lion will be spent on speed-clean­ing am­bu­lances af­ter each shift to keep them on the road while 50 extra re­lief paramedics will be hired to serve the bush.

Pledg­ing to cre­ate a first­class am­bu­lance ser­vice, Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian said the fund­ing, to be un­veiled in Tues­day Tues­day’s s state Bud­get, wa was de­signed to bridge the gap be­tween city and bush ser­vices.

“Whether you live in Griffith or Gladesville, we be­lieve peo­ple across NSW should have ac­cess to first-class am­bu­lance ser­vices,” she said

The Sun­day Tele­graph re­vealed ear­lier this year how a patchy ra­dio net­work left paramedics mak­ing emer­gency calls from hos­pi­tal toi­let cu­bi­cles or the land­lines of pa­tients’ homes, while wav­ing down res­cue he­li­copters.

The roll­out will be co-ordi- nated by the NSW gov­ern­ment Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Au­thor­ity, which is promis­ing “bet­ter cov­er­age”, “in­creased op­er­abil­ity” and safety.

The Bud­get spend will also in­clude $35 mil­lion for com­plet­ing four rural sta­tions at Harden, Griffith, Ardlethan and Coola­mon.

The su­per­sta­tion roll­out will also get $48 mil­lion to com­plete four at Liver­pool, Pen­rith, North­mead and Ar­tar­mon.

The gov­ern­ment will also spend $10 mil­lion to ex­tend in- come pro­tec­tion for paramedics in­jured at work from two to five years, while putting $7.5 mil­lion to­wards hir­ing re­lief staff to help re­duce fa­tigue in rural and re­mote area.

Re­search will also begin on new tech­nol­ogy to link am­bu­lances with hos­pi­tal in­for­ma­tion on pa­tients.

Trea­surer Do­minic Per­rot­tet said: “In­vest­ing in our paramedics means faster re­sponse times while pro­vid­ing bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions and equip­ment to aid first re­spon­ders.”

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