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Ambulance Victoria Mercedes paramedic at St Kilda Junction, 2013
|Formed||1 July 2008|
|Parent agency||Department of Health and Human Services|
Since 1 July 2008 emergency ambulance services in Victoria have been provided by a single provider known as Ambulance Victoria. It was formed from the three previous providers of emergency ambulance services: the Metropolitan Ambulance Service (MAS), Rural Ambulance Victoria (RAV), and the Alexandra District Ambulance Service (ADAS).
Ambulance Victoria has undergone significant reform since the merger. The organisation was engaged in a prolonged wage negotiation with the Ambulance Employees Australia - Victoria union, that was resolved in September 2009. Ambulance Victoria also become a political topic for the November 2010 state election with both sides of parliament offering large increases in numbers of paramedics and additional services.
Formal ambulance services have operated in Victoria since 1899. Over the years services were provided by St John Ambulance, Civil Ambulance Service and a multitude of local area ambulance services. In the 1980s the Metropolitan Ambulance Service was formed from a number of smaller area services and 16 regional services were amalgamated into five. In 1997 this was then consolidated down to one rural service, Rural Ambulance Victoria.
In April 2008 Premier John Brumby and Health Minister Daniel Andrews announced a record funding boost of over $185m, including two new helicopter services, 26 new ambulance stations and over 300 new paramedics. In addition to this, it was also announced that the very way the state's ambulance services work was proposed to be changed with Metropolitan Ambulance Service and Rural Ambulance Victoria becoming one organisation, Ambulance Victoria. On 26 May this decision was confirmed, with one service to commence operation on 1 July.
Ambulance Victoria has over 2,700 operational paramedics located at more than 250 ambulance stations across Victoria.
In 2008/09 Ambulance Victoria responded to 720,891 incidents. This consisted of 436,037 emergency cases and 284,854 non-emergency patient transports.
Ambulance Victoria's emergency and non-emergency patient transport communications are handled by Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) communication centres in East Burwood and Ballarat.
Ambulance communications functions include 000 Emergency call-taking, non-emergency patient transport requests, and ambulance dispatch for emergency and non-emergency vehicles. Modern emergency services communications is highly advanced, and communications staff use a wide range of technologies including digital and analogue radio, telephones, pagers, and advanced computer and GPS systems. Many emergency services vehicles, including ambulances, are fitted with mobile data terminals that enable them to view information, read messages sent by call-takers and dispatchers, and be notified of updates immediately as they become available. A number of communication services used by Ambulance Victoria, such as digital radio and mobile data terminals, are not available outside of metropolitan Melbourne.
Currently Ambulance Victoria operates
- Mercedes 318 Sprinter (Rural areas only)
- Mercedes 316 Sprinter (old edition slowly being phased out, new edition being phased in)
- Mercedes 315 Sprinter (slowly being phased in)
- Mercedes 416 Sprinter (Support, Bariatric and other specialised units)
- Iveco ACCO Medium Truck (Communications Support)
- Ford F350 (Almost entirely phased out, aside from a handful of spare vehicles in rural areas)
- Ford Territory (MICA Single responder)
- Holden Adventra (MICA Single responder)
- Subaru Forester
Air Ambulance Victoria
Air Ambulance Victoria is based at Essendon Airport with helicopters based in the major rural centres.
Air Ambulance Victoria helicopters  designated HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) currently operate throughout the state.
HEMS 1 is a AgustaWestland AW139 based at Essendon replaced a Eurocopter Dauphin twin engine helicopter that was shared by AAV and the Victoria Police Air Wing.
HEMS 2 is a AgustaWestland AW139 based in the La Trobe Valley.
HEMS 3 is a AgustaWestland AW139 based in Bendigo.
HEMS 4 is a AgustaWestland AW139 based in Warnambool
HEMS 5 is a AgustaWestland AW139 for specialist medical retrieval based at Melbourne's Essendon airport.
The Ambulance Service Air Wing operates four Beechcraft B200 King Airs from its Essendon headquarters and can reach most of Victoria within an hour. They are used mainly for transporting patients from rural towns to the major hospitals in Melbourne and can carry two stretcher patients and two walking patients. This service includes bringing people to Melbourne for regular treatments such as oncology and dialysis while also facilitating acute medical conditions requiring surgery or the transfer of injured patients from rural hospitals to specialist care. The service now reaches to more than 86 towns within Victoria while also servicing southern New South Wales, northern Tasmania and some parts of South Australia.
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