Para­medic ex­pan­sion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

Ararat Am­bu­lance Sta­tion team man­ager Am­brose Cashin be­lieves ad­di­tional paramedics and ac­cess to blood-clot dis­solv­ing drugs will cut re­sponse times and pro­vide bet­ter out­comes for pa­tients in the re­gion.

The State Gov­ern­ment has funded a new para­medic team, equiv­a­lent to seven ex­tra full-time paramedics, and a new ve­hi­cle un­der a $500-mil­lion plan to cut am­bu­lance re­sponse times and em­ploy 450 new paramedics across the state.

Mr Cashin said sev­eral new team mem­bers started work at the Ararat sta­tion last week, with the rest to be­gin next month.

“Hav­ing an ad­di­tional team and ve­hi­cle will in­crease our ser­vice de­liv­ery, give us ad­di­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties and re­sult in bet­ter out­comes for pa­tients, which is what it’s all about,” he said.

“Along with the ex­tra crew we now have throm­bolyt­ics on board, which in­creases our scope of prac­tice to the com­mu­nity.”

Ararat paramedics now have ac­cess to elec­tro­car­dio­gram ma­chines and throm­bolytic drugs, which dis­solve blood clots, in am­bu­lances. Blood clots are the pri­mary cause of heart at­tacks and strokes.

“All our new team mem­bers have had throm­bolytic train­ing,” Mr Cashin said.

“To have the abil­ity to ad­min­is­ter clot­bust­ing drugs re­sults in bet­ter out­comes for our pa­tients. Paramedics can ad­min­is­ter drugs and move the pa­tient to the near­est fa­cil­ity where they can put in a stent with the short­est amount of time.

“We also have the abil­ity to trans­mit an elec­tro­car­dio­gram to a car­di­ol­o­gist.

“The paramedics on site can trans­mit an ECG to a car­di­ol­o­gist who can an­a­lyse it and come up with a treat­ment plan. It’s no dif­fer­ent from hav­ing a car­di­ol­o­gist next to you.

“We re­cently had a pa­tient who within three hours and 20 min­utes of hav­ing chest pains had re­ceived a stent, with min­i­mal dam­age done to the heart.”

Mr Cashin said paramedics had ac­cess to a car­di­ol­o­gist 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

He en­cour­aged peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing chest pain to take ac­tion.

“Call­ing us in early leads to bet­ter out­comes. The quicker we treat, the bet­ter,” he said.

Sta­tion up­grade

Ararat Am­bu­lance Sta­tion will also un­dergo mi­nor cap­i­tal works to pro­vide mod­ern and safer fa­cil­i­ties, with room to grow.

“Ararat was orig­i­nally built as a two-man sta­tion,” Mr Cashin said.

“It’s gone from two paramedics to 12 to 20, so it’s un­der­stand­able we need to do some ren­o­va­tions, par­tic­u­larly for stor­age of sup­plies.

“We’re in the process of work­ing out what we want and then we’ll look to bring it into prac­tice.”

Mem­ber for Western Vic­to­ria and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Jaala Pul­ford said the gov­ern­ment’s ‘record’ $500-mil­lion funding boost came on top of $144-mil­lion pro­vided for am­bu­lance ser­vices in the 2017-18 State Bud­get.

“The ex­tra re­sources in Ararat will make a huge dif­fer­ence, al­low­ing paramedics to re­spond quicker,” she said.

“That means more lo­cals will get the life­sav­ing care they need, when they need it.”

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