Tuesday, 16 April 2024
    Community paramedics to the rescue

    Community paramedics to the rescue

    The founder of a new community ambulance service says it could ease pressure on Victoria’s overburdened health system by treating non-emergency patients in their homes, keeping them out of ambulances and emergency departments.

    Paramedic Andrew McDonell co-founded HMS Collective in March this year and says there has been a need for this kind of service for decades.

    “In my 32 years with Ambulance Victoria there were many people being taken to hospital who didn’t need to go there, but there was nowhere else for them to go,” he said.

    “By doing preventative health in the home you can stop people going to hospital.”

    HMS Collective started in the Macedon Ranges and now has patients in Sunbury, Ballarat, Bendigo, and Melbourne’s north and west.

    The 20 paramedics working for the service are registered and have undergone additional training in areas including counselling, wound management, catheter care, and mental health.
    Ambulance Victoria struggles to keep up

    Victoria’s ambulance service has been under immense strain during the pandemic, with unprecedented calls to triple-0 and ambulance ramping regularly occurring at hospitals.

    Last weekend union secretary Danny Hill said the health system was not copying after Ambulance Victoria was on the edge of issuing a Code Red alert – which meant the service had exhausted its ability to meet patients’ needs.

    Andrew McDonell estimates his community paramedics are already keeping an ambulance in its station for an additional 90 hours per week.

    “We are trying to get the government on board to rollout the service across the state,” he said.


    As Ambulance Victoria struggles with demand, these community paramedics say they can help (ABC News)


    Andrew McDonell finished working for Ambulance Victoria in September and says the last few months were “shocking”.(Supplied: Andrew McDonell)