PARAMEDICS who specialise in trauma and cardiac care are few and far between in the New England Region, union officials have said.
The Australian Paramedics Association (APA) is calling for more intensive care paramedics in regional NSW, with claims rural residents are at more of a disadvantage than our city cousins.
The association says the recruitment process for the specialist paramedics is “too metro centric” and there needs to be more training across the board.
“The process generally tends to be focused on metropolitan areas, Sydney and Newcastle in particular,” delegate Scott Clarke said.
“We believe that access to health professionals or higher levels of clinical care in the bush are not what they should be. It is fairly ad hoc, there has basically been no formal or structured approach to the placement of intensive care paramedics despite the service looking at this issue in some depth.
“Our intensive care paramedics take that delivery of clinical care to the next level, especially in the areas of cardiac care and trauma care.
“They are two big areas where country areas are at a disadvantage due to the tyranny of distance.
“It would not be unreasonable to suggest you could drive from Tamworth to Dubbo, and in the event of a serious motor vehicle accident, there would not be an intensive care paramedic within cooee.
“But if there were a high speed motor vehicle accident in Sydney, there would be an abundance of intensive care paramedics, all within minutes of major trauma hospitals – and that is the difference here.”
A NSW Ambulance spokesman said the service “constantly” reviewed resourcing in the region.
“Over the past 18 months, NSW Ambulance has increased the number of certified Intensive Care Paramedics in the New England area,” he said.
“During this time, seven ICPs have been added to rosters across the region, bringing the number to 19, an increase of close to 60 per cent.
“All paramedics are trained in providing a wide array of vital pre-hospital treatments, including life-saving interventions such as pre-hospital thrombolysis or “clot busting medications” for cardiac patients.
“NSW Ambulance can also dispatch aeromedical services to emergencies as required, including helicopters with doctors and Critical Care Paramedics on board.”