Ambulance services of Victoria

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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).[1]

The MAS was responsible for Melbourne and its outer suburbs while RAV was responsible for regional and rural areas of Victoria, except for the Alexandra, Marysville, and Eildon areas, which was serviced by ADAS [3].

All services of Ambulance Service Victoria operate pursuant to the Ambulance Services Act 1986.

In addition, a number of non-emergency patient transport companies operate under the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Act 2003 are use conventional ambulance equipped with emergency lights and sirens, and sometimes attend emergency cases.

Volunteers[edit]

In some remote areas, Ambulance Victoria oversees volunteer "Community Emergency Response Teams" (CERTs) to deliver first aid before professional paramedics can attend to an emergency victim. [4] CERTs do not transport patients. "Ambulance Community Officers" offer similar services as individuals. [5]

History[edit]

In 1883 as a result of a public meeting, a branch of the St. John Ambulance Association was set up with the aim of teaching home nursing and first aid to as many people as possible. 1887 saw enough money raised to purchase six Ashford Litters which were placed at police stations. It wasn't until 1899 that Melbourne's first ambulance station was opened at the rear of the Windsor Hotel off Bourke street. It housed one horse drawn ambulance and was bought with money raised by the Association of Ladies of St John.[2]

On 26 May 2008, the government confirmed that from 1 July 2008 all ambulance services within Victoria would combine and operate under the one banner of Ambulance Victoria.[3] This meant that Victoria would come into line with other states, having one ambulance service for the whole of the state.

It is stated in the 2009-10 Annual report that Ambulance Victoria has 2143 operational Ambulance Paramedics and 416 MICA Paramedic. There are also 613 operational support and management staff.[4]

Metropolitan Ambulance Service[edit]

The Metropolitan Ambulance Service (MAS) serviced an area of 9000 square kilometres, extending from the Melbourne Central Business District to the Mornington Peninsula and the peripheral rural communities of Bacchus Marsh, Whittlesea, Warburton and Koo-Wee-Rup. Almost 4 million residents lived in this area.[5]

The primary vehicle used for emergency attendance and transport was Mercedes Benz 316 Sprinters and Ford F350’s. These units are run with two paramedics. MICA (Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance) utilise the Mercedes Benz 316's, as well as Ford Territory, Ford Falcon, Holden Commodore, Holden Adventura and Suburu Forester. The MICA units were typically staffed with one specially trained paramedic which includes advanced life support (ALS), who are utilised in cases where extensive patient care is required in addition to a regular unit. Bicycle units are utilised as first responders at major events, including the 2006 Commonwealth games, Spring Racing Carnival and The Big Day Out.

A partnership existed between the MAS and the Victorian Fire and Emergency Services Board, where firefights are dispatched to time critical medical emergencies where their response time may be quicker than that of the closest MAS unit. The primary example of this is cardiac arrest patients, which has led to fire trucks being equipped with defibrillators and the firefighters being trained advanced CPR and defibrillation.

Rural Ambulance Victoria[edit]

Rural Ambulance Victoria (RAV) was responsible for pre-hospital emergency care and transport for the 1.4 million people living and working in rural Victoria – an area of more than 215,000 square kilometres extending from the boundaries of Melbourne to the borders with South Australia and New South Wales.[6] It was formed in 1998 by the merger of a number of regional ambulance services.

Alexandra District Ambulance Service[edit]

Alexandra District Ambulance Services was formed by the community in 1948. The area serviced incorporates the districts of Alexandra, Eildon & Marysville (formally the shire of Alexandra).[7]

St John Ambulance Victoria[edit]

St. John Ambulance was the founding ambulance service in the state of Victoria. St. John Ambulance Victoria now provides Non-Emergency Patient Transport (NEPT) services in Victoria and operates the Ambulance Victoria Complex Patient Ambulance Vehicles (CPAV) in metropolitan Melbourne. St. John also provides first aid services at major events across the state and at times interstate. First aid services are provided primarily via a volunteer workforce however there are also paid staff. St. John also provides first aid services during natural disasters across the state and less often, interstate. St. John is the leader in first aid training across Australia and sells and services first aid supplies and equipment.

Life Saving Victoria[edit]

Life Saving Victoria offers volunteer aquatic rescue and first aid services in many coastal areas, and in Mildura. While they do transport patients from the water to land, they do not transport patients to hospitals once landed.

Chevra Hatzolah[edit]

Hatzolah responders are trained by Ambulance Victoria and are equipped with oxygen and semi automatic defibrillators. They usually are used within the Jewish Community however Hatzolah will respond to any person's call regardless of race, gender, religion or beliefs. Hatzolah responders are trained and equipped to deal with any medical emergency and regularly attend cases such as chest pain, bleeding, full arrest, household accidents, asthma and road trauma. Hatzolah responders are on stand-by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Australian Volunteer Coast Guard[edit]

The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard provides a maritime search and rescue service, and answers distress calls made by vessels off the Victorian coast. This can involve the transportation of emergency patients.

Emergency Medical Response[edit]

Both the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) have emergency medical response programmes. These involve members being trained to respond to cases of suspected cardiac arrest, providing CPR, oxygen and defibrillation services before an Ambulance can arrive.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/state-ambulance-services-to-merge/2008/04/22/1208742941520.html, retrieved 26 April 2008
  2. ^ [1] Taken from the history section of the MAS website accessed 28 June 2007
  3. ^ Victorian Government Health Information Website http://www.health.vic.gov.au/ambulance/index.htm accessed 27 August 2008
  4. ^ "2009-10 Ambulance Victoria Annual Report [2] accessed 27 February 2011
  5. ^ http://www.mas.vic.gov.au/Main-home/What-We-Do/Operations/Area.html, retrieved 1 October 2007
  6. ^ http://www.rav.vic.gov.au/What-we-do.html, retrieved 1 October 2007
  7. ^ http://www.murrindindi.vic.gov.au/Directory/S2_Item.asp?Mkey=15&S3Key=26, retrieved 1 October 2007

External links[edit]