03
Jul

An overhaul of Ambulance Victoria’s emergency responses has seen paramedics treating more critical patients instead of non-urgent cases, saving more lives.

Victorian paramedics have saved 39 extra lives and were able to respond to 7000 other critical cases within 15 minutes thanks to an overhaul of the emergency response system.

ambulance VIC
Photo: article supplied

Ambulance Victoria changed its clinical response model in October 2016 to get to more high priority cases instead of non-urgent ones and data from the first three months shows improvement, says Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy.

“Data that’s been released today demonstrates at least 39 lives have been saved because of these changes,” she told reporters on Thursday.

Ms Hennessy said ambulances needed to get to the sickest patients as quickly as possible.

“Ultimately we can’t have a system whereby we’re sending lights and sirens to people who have headaches,” she said.

Ambulance Victoria chief executive Tony Walker says the “more sophisticated model” is working better for sicker patients.

“We are better able to identify the sick patients at the point of call and rapidly get our response ambulances to those patients,” Mr Walker said.

He said in the past paramedics had struggled to reach the sickest patients because they were forced to deal with less seriously injured or ill people.

Heart attack survivor Eric Hirschfeld said the new response system helped save his life when he fell sick at his home in October.

“I think I can quite safely say, I’m a living testament to the incredible work and amazing things paramedics and the ambulance service do,” he told reporters.

The 57-year-old was speaking with his brother-in-law when he slumped forward in his chair.

An ambulance arrived in fewer than eight minutes.

This article was originally published by SBS.com.au.

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