Paramedics join forces to save their ‘000’

by John J. Williams

In an Australian first, paramedics nationwide and the Council of Ambulance Authorities (CAA) have joined forces to launch a nationwide campaign calling on people to rescue Triple Zero (000) from emergencies.

The ACT Ambulance Service supported the Save 000 for Saving Lives campaign and asked the community to consider sending an ambulance for their emergency.

Paramedics join forces to save their '000'

“The ACT Ambulance Service is committed to responding to all calls for medical emergencies,” the service said.

“If you are not experiencing a medical emergency, seek alternatives such as a primary care physician, pharmacist, or registered nurse available 24 hours a day with HealthDirect on 1800 022 222.”

CAA director Dominic Morgan said data from the ACT’s closest neighbor indicates that many incidents could be managed by other parts of the health system rather than by calling Triple Zero.

Dr. Morgan said that in the 12 months to April 30, NSW paramedics attended more than 275,000 incidents that ended without a patient being taken to the hospital.

“Make no mistake, if you experience a medical emergency, we will be there for you as soon as possible,” said Dr. Morgan.

“But if our emergency calls, dispatchers, and paramedics are on non-emergency work, it could keep us from reaching a real emergency.”

CAA Chief Executive David Waters said a very high workload due to cases of COVID-19 and flu, on top of the normal allied health workload, meant any reduction in call volume would greatly help hardworking clinicians and call takers.

Mr. Waters called on people to assess whether their situation was an emergency.

“Not every call to our control centers is for an emergency, and many can be managed through other health pathways,” said Mr. Waters.

“While everyone who needs an ambulance gets one, calls that are not an emergency can pressure our emergency services,” he said.

“Paramedics across Australia have done an incredible job during the pandemic, and their efforts to keep the community safe are to be commended.”

He said minor symptoms, such as a headache, runny nose, and sore throat, could be treated with the help of a pharmacist.

“Both viruses can be very dangerous to many in our community,” said Mr. Waters.

“You should never hesitate to call an ambulance if you have serious symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing up blood, severe headache, confusion, or fainting,” he said.

“We just want people to consider their symptoms and the right path for them.”

The 30-second Save 000 for Saving Lives campaign video and audio can be accessed via this PS News link.

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