Nagambie will have a permanent ambulance for the first time.
The new 24-hour on-call service follows evaluation of a pilot program in which an ambulance was based in Nagambie during weekends and peak periods over summer and Easter.
Ambulance Victoria staff and local community representatives in Nagambie
The ambulance will be staffed by Ambulance Community Officers (ACOs) – employees trained to provide lifesaving emergency care – with professional paramedic support at peak times.
This high level of care is provided by 750 community-minded Victorians around the state and has proven an excellent model of care in rural locations.
The ACO crew will provide rapid response to Triple Zero (000) calls within the Nagambie catchment and will always backed up by paramedics.
Acting Hume Regional Director Matt Chadban said transition to the new service would commence from October.
“The new service will provide Nagambie around-the-clock ambulance coverage, especially for the most time-critical cases such as stroke and cardiac arrest,” Mr Chadban said.
“A professional paramedic will work alongside the ACO team for four days a week from October 2016 to March 2017 to provide advice, support and training.
“We will also provide paramedic surge support during periods of traditionally higher demand as required after April 2017.
“We will continue to review and analyse cases within Nagambie over the next 18 months to ensure we continue to understand resource requirements and community needs.”
Mr Chadban said the new service would build on the exceptional care provided by Nagambie CERT volunteers for more than a decade.
“Nagambie CERT volunteers have made a difference to countless lives and we will support and train CERT volunteers who would like to build their skills and become ACOs and we look forward to new ACOs being trained and joining the AV team,” he said.
“While the pilot program produced a smaller sample than we had anticipated, it suggested that the seasonal ambulance resource reduced the workload of the Nagambie CERT crew.
“It also showed, however, that an ambulance staffed only by paramedics would be regularly drawn out of the Nagambie community to attend patients in nearby areas.
“An on-call ACO ambulance crew backed by paramedics is less likely to be dispatched or transport patients outside the catchment and more likely to be available within the community.”