There will be more paramedics, ambulance stations, airborne doctors and improved conditions for ambulance workers, with the NSW government injecting an extra $74 million into emergency medical services in the state budget.
The government will spend more than $890 million on ambulance services in Tuesday’s budget, a marked increase over last year’s budget.
About $30 million will be spent rolling out the NSW Ambulance Helicopter Retrieval Network Service.
The emergency helicopter service, which will have doctors on every flight, will operate 24/7 from bases in Newcastle, Tamworth, Orange, Wollongong, Canberra, Lismore and Bankstown.
‘This budget helps us meet the challenge to continue to provide a first class ambulance response, whether it’s in the suburbs of Sydney or in more isolated areas of the state,’ Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
Income protection for paramedics will be extended from two years to five years, and programs to help paramedics avoid injury and recover more quickly will be implemented to the tune of $10 million.
Rural and regional paramedics will hopefully feel less fatigued, as an additional 50 relief staff join the service’s ranks at a cost of $7.5 million.
And ambulance workers in the state’s “superstations” will have a $4 million helping hand from non-clinical staff, who will be employed to clean and restock ambulances at the end of each shift.
The superstation program will receive continued funding with $48 million to complete the Liverpool, Penrith, Northmead, and Artarmon superstations in Sydney, and begin work on two more at Caringbah and Haberfield.
In regional areas, $35 million will fund the completion of stations at Harden, Griffith, Ardlethan, and Coolamon, while work begins at five more – Berry, Molong, Basin View, Bathurst and Kiama.
The emergency radio network will also be upgraded at a cost of $5.6 million, and equipment and IT will receive millions more.