The Council of Ambulance Authorities (CAA) represents 10 Australia and New Zealand Jurisdictional Ambulance Services (JAS) who deliver a wide-ranging support and emergency paramedicine to communities everywhere.
One of the most important assets they have are the volunteers/first responders who are often on the forefront of community engagement. The volunteers bring wide range of skills, knowledge and clinical abilities, but importantly their time, effort and energy to their local communities.
They are supported by JASs through free training in clinical skills, first aid, CPR, leadership courses, conferences, exchange programs and reward and recognition programs. There are dedicated staff to ensure ongoing support for volunteers and evidence suggests that this support is improving community’s health outcomes and leads to increase in applications to join the First Responder teams.
These local heroes are in every rural and remote community and we salute them!
All Ambulance Services have own success stories; here are some of them.
The “Ceduna Project”
Ceduna was a perfect place for the SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) to expand its model for community paramedicine.
The model has enabled community paramedics to help coordinate care options and link people with appropriate support in a range of areas including palliative care, mental health and complex care.
The Ceduna project included the addition of two paramedics with the authority to practice as Intensive Care Paramedics, and specialist vehicles and equipment to effectively treat patients where they live. This has helped people prevent serious medical conditions, in turn reducing the impact on other health services including hospital emergency departments. The benefits for Ceduna community across clinical, social and educational achieved from daily health checks and medicine distribution, palliate care support, CPR and AED training, chronic disease management and support of local social and inclusion services in development and delivery of care plans.
SAAS also developed a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The RAP sought to increase their rate of employment in the SAAS workforce and deliver equality of health care.
This project, which won the CAA 2019 Award for Excellence in Leadership, incorporated specially commissioned artwork to adorn the paramedics’ vehicles in Ceduna, which has become another important link in building trust with communities using a universal language.
Cultural capability is an important feature of Queensland Health’s commitment to delivering safe and accessible services, which are clinically and culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Building on the Queensland Health Framework, Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) has developed its own Cultural Capability Action Plan to improve culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities; develop relationships and increase employment representation within QAS.
The plan includes the QAS Indigenous Paramedic Program (IPP) which provides an indigenous development pathway using targeted and consultative recruitment strategies recognising unique challenges around education and socio-economic needs and removes associated barriers
The program aims to improve the delivery of pre-hospital services in disadvantaged regional and remote areas by engaging indigenous community members to provide culturally sensitive care, and enhance diversity in the operational workforce
The recruitment and training of dedicated indigenous clinicians has helped to build health resilience in their own communities with a positive and lasting impact.