Page 4811 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 27 November 2018

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during periods of known high demand, every effort is made to backfill the rostered shifts. This is done by offering overtime to paramedics to fill shifts. Overtime is also offered to fill shifts in periods of low demand; however, the same effort to backfill these shifts is not applied. In these instances ACTAS accepts operating with fewer than 10 emergency ambulance crews in the knowledge that the high standard of care for the community is maintained.

While this is how rostering was applied in practice, the flexibility was not documented in the ACTAS policy on crewing levels. Through its rostering efforts and operational performance, for the last six years the territory has benefited from ambulance response times that are amongst the fastest in the country, with the highest level of patient satisfaction. This was achieved despite demand increasing by 25 per cent over this same period. This would not have been possible without appropriately allocating resources across the majority of shifts over this period of time.

It is important to point out that the Report on government services, ROGS, data measures response times and patient satisfaction as the key performance indicators. The minimum crewing metric is not routinely used as a key performance indicator for ambulance services. For this reason, ACTAS has not previously reported on minimum crewing levels as a measure of its delivery of service to the community. However, in light of recent interest, ACTAS has been looking at developing an automated report to provide this information. This is currently done manually. I can advise the Assembly that between 1 July 2018 and 31 October 2018, 30 ambulance shifts fell below minimum crewing levels, representing 12 per cent of all shifts.

In relation to the ACTAS review, this was conducted by monitoring updated information on patterns of ambulance demand. Twelve months of recent data was utilised for the review across several ACT Emergency Services Agency sources. Case load information was mapped to area of the city, day of the week and time of day. ACTAS staff then met to analyse the information and determine the crewing levels required to match the demand at different times of the week.

From this work, the ACTAS operations management team have developed an updated ambulance resource plan. This plan is dynamic and flexible. It details variations in the number and location of ambulance resources, according to known patterns of demand. This will allow a more informed and appropriate crewing model, based on the predicted need, rather than just an arbitrary crew number across the whole of the week. The overarching ACTAS policy has been revised to reflect this flexible approach and to provide better guidance to ACTAS staff on how crewing levels should be applied to meet service demands and maintain public safety. The revised policy on crewing levels has been consulted on with the Transport Workers Union, the TWU.

The professionalism of the women and men of ACTAS has ensured that our response times have remained the fastest. Due to increasing demand being placed on ACTAS, the government committed to recruit additional paramedics through its 2016 election commitment. The government delivered on this commitment, announcing a significant funding package in December 2017, resulting in the recruitment of an additional 23 paramedics. An additional mechanic was also funded to enhance capability as we continue to increase the size of the ACTAS fleet.

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