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.
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.”