Page 610 - Week 02 - Thursday, 14 February 2013

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ACT Ambulance Service—performance

DR BOURKE: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, recently the Productivity Commission’s annual report on government services was released. Could you outline how the ACT Ambulance Service performed in this report?

MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. The latest report on government services shows that the ACT Ambulance Service has continued to improve its response times, particularly to the most urgent of cases, despite ongoing growth in demand from the Canberra community. The 2013 report on government services outlines that, despite these increased levels of demand, the ACT Ambulance Service reported improved priority 1 response times at both the 50th and 90th percentile indicators. This means that an ambulance crew arrived at priority 1 emergency situations within 9.3 minutes for the 50th percentile and 14.8 minutes for the 90th percentile.

This result shows that the ACT is at the front of the pack, when you also take into account the response times of ACT Fire and Rescue, when it comes to the delivery of emergency services for our community. These are exceptional results by the Ambulance Service in particular, and all of the paramedics and other personnel of the service who I know are working very hard to maintain and continue to improve the level of service provided to the Canberra community in times of medical emergency.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how has the ACT Ambulance Service achieved such impressive results?

MR CORBELL: Obviously, first and foremost, through the dedicated hard work of our Ambulance Service personnel but it is also thanks to additional resources on the part of the government. The government has made significant investment in additional resources for the Ambulance Service in recent years, in particular in the most recent 2011-12 budget, by allocating $21.1 million over four years to deliver 30 additional ambulance officers, five new intensive care ambulances and allowing for the introduction of two additional crews on shift for the service.

This funding has identified and addressed issues raised both in the report by the Auditor-General and also in the subsequent Lennox Review of the ACT Ambulance Service and demonstrates the government’s commitment to meet growing demand for our city.

Intensive care paramedics are at the coalface of our system in Canberra and need to be adequately resourced to provide their lifesaving services. The 2011-12 funding was in addition to the government’s support of a pay increase to intensive care paramedics, which saw intensive care paramedics reclassified and a significant increase in their base salary.

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