Paramedics provide emergency medical response to more than 6 million people in an area of more than 227,000 square kilometres. In 2015-16, paramedics in Victoria responded to about 589,847 emergency road incidents – that’s one every 55 seconds.
Paramedic expertise is not just applied at the scene of a patient. Paramedics are involved in the coordination of ambulance resources and dispatch as duty managers, clinicians and communications support personnel.
Paramedics are also involved in our Secondary Triage Service which deals with 000 calls classified as low medical priority, where the patient’s condition indicates that an ambulance may not be necessary and an alternative service can be provided. This helps free up ambulances for life-threatening cases.
The clinical, pharmacological and medical skills of our paramedics are of a very high standard. External surveys show that 97 per cent of patients are satisfied or very satisfied with overall with our service.
Most Ambulance Victoria paramedics are trained to Advanced Life Support (ALS) level which allows them to provide exceptional emergency care to patients. They are able to insert intravenous cannula (drips), administer pain relief medication, perform advanced airway management, give intravenous drug therapy for cardiac arrest patients and perform intravenous fluid replacement for trauma patients. Above all, our paramedics are experts in providing sick and injured people care, treatment and transport to further medical care.
Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) Paramedics
MICA paramedics have a higher clinical skill set and can perform more advanced medical procedures. MICA paramedics’ training goes beyond practical skill precision to include more detail in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology to greater increase capacity to make complex clinical decisions without medical consultation. They can perform advanced airway management, manage complex head injuries, administer intra osseous (into bone) drug and fluid in paediatric patients, treat life-threatening chest injuries and provide advanced management of cardiac conditions. MICA paramedics operate either as part of a two person crew or as a single responder.
Air Ambulance Paramedics
MICA flight paramedics work on our helicopters and our aeroplanes are staffed by either qualified ambulance paramedics or MICA flight paramedics, depending on the level of care required for the patient. Air Ambulance paramedics are trained to perform advanced treatments in challenging environments such as on a boat or 10,000 feet in the air. MICA flight paramedics are also skilled in performing winch rescue services.
Ambulance Community Officers
Ambulance Community Officers (ACOs) are first responders employed on a casual basis to provide advanced first aid in remote communities where the caseload is low and the branch is not staffed full-time. ACOs have life-saving skills that they develop and maintain every year. There are about 650 Ambulance Community Officers providing services to rural communities at about 80 designated branches.
Bicycle Response Paramedics
Bicycle Response Paramedics work at special events such as the Spring Racing Carnival, Formula 1 Grand Prix and New Years’ Eve. Bicycle Response Paramedics are often first on scene and carry modified versions of all the equipment stored on a standard ambulance.
Clinical Instructors are responsible for on the road day-to-day training of graduate paramedics and qualified ambulance paramedics returning after time away. Clinical Instructors focus on the clinical, operational and professional development of the students and paramedics.
Community Emergency Response Team volunteers
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers are dispatched at the same time as an ambulance to potentially time-critical emergencies within their local community. CERTs are trained in providing basic emergency care services within their local community until the ambulance arrives. They do not transport patients, but provide emergency response in locations that have a low caseload and limited ambulance coverage.
We recruit graduate paramedics who have completed recognised university degrees. Graduates spend their first one to two years receiving ongoing training and familiarisation in our procedures and protocols. With the help of a Clinical Instructor, graduate paramedics undertake further clinical study and on-road training to transition from class room to the community.
Duty Managers are qualified paramedics who work in our communication centres. They monitor demand for ambulances against available ambulances available, assess hospital activity and transfer times, and manage meal break opportunities for paramedics to get rest and food during their shifts.
Paramedic Community Support Coordinators
Paramedic Community Support Coordinators are professional paramedics whose work goes beyond the traditional role of responding to emergency cases. In addition to supporting emergency response, a key focus of their role is working with other local health services in the provision of primary care and training and supporting local ambulance to meet the community’s health needs.
Ambulance Victoria has 16 Paramedic Community Support Coordinators across the state, working with communities in Mallacoota, Omeo, Wedderburn, Hopetoun, Upper Hume, Southern Hume, West Gippsland, Corangamite, Southern Grampians, West Wimmera, Central Grampians, Western Hume, Central Gippsland, Wimmera, and in the Mallee Track and Manangatang districts of the Northern Mallee.”
Referral Service Paramedics
Paramedics trained in telephone triage can connect triple zero callers whose condition does not require an emergency ambulance to an alternative service which may be more suitable, such as a nursing service or a locum. Not every caller to triple zero needs an emergency ambulance and the paramedics and nurses in our Secondary Triage Service are experts in determining the most appropriate healthcare to meet patient needs.
Clinical Support Officer
Clinical Support Officers are experienced MICA paramedics who provide expert in-field clinical leadership, support and education to paramedics and volunteers. They facilitate statewide clinical and operational education programs as well as undertaking clinical audit for quality assurance and governance.
Wilderness Response Paramedics
Wilderness Response Paramedics are specifically trained to assist in emergencies in remote and wilderness areas of Victoria. They provide specialist response to remote locations in alpine and bush areas alongside other agencies such as police, SES, CFA and others.
Wilderness Response Paramedics:
Work as part of a multi-agency team
Treat patients in challenging and uncomfortable environments
Use specialist equipment
Provide patient care over protracted periods.
Aquatic Paramedics have a range of skills and knowledge specific to aquatic environments. They accompany other emergency services in boats to reach patients or work close to water such as on boats at docks.
Aquatic Paramedics undergo training from Life Saving Victoria for coastal response and additional situations paramedics may find themselves in including flood rescue boats, inland waterways and rivers.
Awareness of various hazards associated with different aquatic environments
Awareness of various aquatic vessels used by partner agencies
Risk minimization strategies when being transported on aquatic vessels
Self-preservation and survival strategies in an aquatic environment
Familiarisation of safety equipment
Types of personal floatation devices, emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBSs) and flares