Victoria’s ambulance action plan: improving services, saving lives sets out a roadmap to transform both the delivery of ambulance services to the Victorian community and the way paramedics are supported throughout their careers.

This action plan focuses the collective efforts of government, Ambulance Victoria, Ambulance Employees Australia-Victoria (AEA-V) and other stakeholders over the coming years to improve ambulance services for the Victorian community. Our priorities are:

  • providing the right response to patients
  • improving paramedic health, wellbeing and training
  • strengthening partnerships and collaboration with health services
  • improving access to care and patient outcomes in rural communities
  • developing a positive culture that is centred on patients and staff.

Providing the right response to patients 

A significant number of Triple Zero callers could be better served by other services, rather than an emergency ambulance response. To assist these non-urgent callers to access the right care, strong links need to be in place between Ambulance Victoria and other parts of the health system.

Supporting patients to access other parts of the health system benefits patients and the ambulance service. It ensures that patients with non-urgent conditions are treated appropriately, and it frees up ambulances to respond to patients with life-threatening emergencies.

The following actions have been completed:

  • updates to ambulance and patient transport policies and protocols to provide faster responses to patients
  • better triaging and referral to other health agencies through improved partnerships.

The following actions are underway:

  • further improving partnerships with health agencies to create better links with alternative services providers for Triple Zero callers with non-time-critical needs
  • developing a campaign that improves public awareness of Ambulance Victoria’s emergency role.

Improving paramedic health and wellbeing

Ambulance Victoria is working hard to be a workplace that paramedics are proud to work for and that will provide the support that they need to help patients in times of emergency.

The following actions have been completed: 

  • reducing occupational violence through better monitoring and reporting and implementation of a safety and accountability framework
  • better career pathways for paramedics
  • improved rostering to support work-life balance for paramedics
  • improved mentoring and training for graduates.

The following actions are underway: 

  • a collaboration between WorkSafe Victoria, Ambulance Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a public campaign to reducing occupational violence against healthcare workers, including paramedics
  • developing formal training for paramedics and managers to address mental health and occupational health and safety
  • progressing the inclusion of paramedics under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

Strengthening partnerships and collaboration with health services

While some patients who contact Triple Zero may not need an immediate emergency response from paramedics, many still require a timely response from other parts of the health system. Ambulance Victoria and other health services are working together to ensure patients are cared for by the most appropriate provider. This helps free up paramedics to focus on emergency care and transport.

The following actions have been completed:

  • research to better understand how people with mental health issues access Ambulance Victoria services to improve care pathways
  • training for paramedics to better identify and support people experiencing or at risk of family violence and child abuse.

The following actions are underway:

  • working with primary health networks to find better ways to share patient information and improve their care
  • working with hospital emergency departments to further improve transfer times to free up more emergency ambulances.

Improving access and outcomes for rural communities

Ambulance service delivery in remote or low-workload rural areas needs a more flexible and community-centred approach that recognises the different needs of each community, along with the challenges of distance and access to healthcare, while at the same time striving to provide timely and equitable access to care in an emergency.

The following actions have been completed: 

  • trialling Paramedic Community Support Coordinator programs in the Grampians and Loddon Mallee regions
  • delivering an enhanced Automated External Defibrillator registry.

The following actions are underway: 

  • trialling new models of community para-medicine to provide more responsive models of care to rural and regional communities, including working with the Country Fire Authority
  • providing better information about automated external defibrillators for first responders and the public.

Developing a positive culture that is centred on patients and staff

Paramedics are well regarded for their skills, compassion and commitment to the community. However, aspects of the service’s current culture are unacceptable and outdated. This takes a personal toll on paramedics and impacts service performance, leading to low levels of staff satisfaction and poor culture within Ambulance Victoria.

The following actions have been completed: 

  • implementing improved health and safety training for all employees
  • establishing the Community Advisory Committee to provide feedback to Ambulance Victoria’s board
  • establishing feedback and complaint management processes consistent with Victorian Ombudsman and Health Services Commissioner processes.

The following actions are underway: 

  • implementing the Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey at Ambulance Victoria to provide more consumer feedback as a measure of performance
  • reviewing the Ambulance Services Act 1986 to provide a contemporary legislative framework that better aligns with the needs of a modern ambulance services.

The review of the Ambulance Services Act 1986 consultation phase closed in January 2017. Find out more information about the review here.