Budget lifeline for ambos
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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