Australian Paramedics Association (NSW)

APA (NSW) welcomes the NSW Government’s support for 10 of the 12 recommendations made by the Ramping Inquiry, but says the rejection of specialist Paramedic expansion prevents communities around the state from receiving critical care and easing a hospital system at breaking point.

The NSW Government’s response to the 2022 Ramping Inquiry has been published in the midst of a bed block crisis, with BHI Data showing that rates of ambulance to emergency department transfer within target times are worse than a decade ago. More than 1 in 5 patients across the state waits for almost a full hour to receive hospital care after arriving by ambulance.

APA (NSW) President Chris Kastelan says “This inquiry shone a spotlight into one of the darkest parts of our failing emergency healthcare system.”

“Ramping hurts everyone, from the patients who wait for hours in carparks waiting for hospital treatment, to members of the community who receive life-saving emergency medical care is delayed because ambulances are stuck waiting, to Paramedics who can’t do the job they love because they spend half their shift in bed block.”

“Our members routinely describe how soul destroying it is to be stuck for hours on end with patients who experience avoidable deterioration, if not death, and not be able to do anything about it.”

“We’re happy to see that this Government supports the implementation of many critically needed reforms to save our communities from this crisis, including fair Paramedic pay, more accessible GP services, and Paramedic leadership reform.”

However, the union says it’s incredibly disappointed that the only Inquiry recommendation not supported by the government is the removal of location limits on specialist Intensive Care Paramedics (ICPs) and Extended Care Paramedics (ECPs) who can drastically prevent avoidable hospitalisations and ease bed block.

“Specialist Paramedics are absolutely critical for treating the most serious injuries and taking care of less serious cases on-site so they don’t end up having to go to hospital,” continues Mr Kastelan.

“We don’t have enough Extended Care Paramedics outside of the Sydney, Wollongong, and Newcastle areas, not because there aren’t enough willing Paramedics, but because of NSW Ambulance restrictive practices.”

“Location limits actively block vast swathes of the state from receiving the kind of specialised care that can be vital in saving lives and reducing pressure on the hospital system. It’s an utterly unnecessary restriction that prevents currently qualified Paramedics using the skills they already have to save lives.”

“We should be using every available resource to stop this crisis, but the Government is refusing to listen to the Paramedics on the ground who have been fighting for this.”

“To be crystal clear, for the Government to reject this recommendation is to condemn communities across the state to further bed block delays in response times, and backflip on their election promise to expand specialist coverage.”

/Public Release.