Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4153 ..
(4) What happens when the available ambulances are out on a call.
(5) How long, on average, do patients have to wait for an ambulance.
(6) What is the longest time that patients have had to wait.
(7) How long does it take to turn around an ambulance once they have been on a call.
(8) Has this time increased since the pandemic; if so, how much extra time is required to turn around an ambulance.
(9) What has been done to alleviate this problem.
(10) Are there situations where an ambulance does not attend a call; if so, how often does this happen and what are patients advised to do in that circumstance.
Mr Gentleman: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:
(1) The ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS) has 33 emergency ambulance vehicles, two single response vehicles, two operational supervisor response vehicles, one 4x4 vehicle, one bariatric vehicle and five Non-Emergency Patient Transport (NEPT) vehicles.
(2) A minimum of 11 emergency ambulances and one operational supervisor response vehicle are deployed 24/7. An additional two ambulances are deployed between 0700 – 1900 and an additional two are deployed between 1100 – 2300. The additional vehicles are known as the “demand roster”.
For NEPT vehicles, between four and five vehicles are deployed on weekdays, two vehicles are deployed on Saturdays and one vehicle is deployed on Sundays.
(3) Emergency ambulance vehicles are assigned using a computer aided dispatch system within the ESA Communication Centre. This system creates a message which alerts a Mobile Data Terminal located in each vehicle. Alternatively there is a direct turnout system for a crew located on a station via a visual and audible alert. Crews not in a vehicle or on a station (i.e. at the hospital) are dispatched via radio.
(4) ACTAS has a comprehensive priority and deployment strategy which is designed to hold two vehicles and paramedic resources at any given time. This allows ACTAS to keep available emergency paramedic resources for those members of the community who present with life-threatening injuries or illnesses. Policies and procedures support the early and on-going recognition of presenting patient acuity in the pre-hospital environment. These enable informed decisions in the allocation of emergency and non-emergency ambulance resources on a daily basis.
In the rare event that demand on paramedic resources is stretched to the limit, for potentially life-threatening conditions ACTAS has a robust mechanism to deploy other resources. This includes Non-Emergency Patient transport crews, ACT Fire & Rescue, members of ACTAS management teams and a reciprocal cross-border understanding with local and surrounding NSW Ambulance Services.
(5) All incidents are triaged and prioritised according to the acuity of the patient’s presenting condition. In 2020-21, an ambulance arrived on scene to a Priority 1 (P1)