Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please find below answers to questions that you may have about the WA’s Country Ambulance Service draft Strategy, and the process that has been worked through.

Click on a question below to see its answer.

Previous reviews have identified the complexity around the availability, safety, viability and sustainability of the current model of country ambulance services. Building on the previous review works, this is the first time that a comprehensive strategy has been developed to strengthen WA’s country ambulance services into the future. The draft Country Ambulance Strategy is the result of extensive consultation with key stakeholders who use and run ambulance services. It incorporates a review of both national and international service models and provides a clear and transparent strategic direction going forward.

The public consultation period closes on 10 December 2018. Subsequently, the Strategy will be finalised and from the beginning of next year, we expect to start implementing in a phased approach to set the future direction of the Country Ambulance Service.

  • We know that the job of a volunteer ambulance officer can be stressful and demanding. That’s why the draft Strategy recommends that volunteers are better supported through training, education and career pathways.
  • The draft Strategy recognises the tremendous contribution made by WA’s ambulance volunteers and confirms that the volunteer model provides more ambulance response locations in regional and remote WA than any other State. This is recognised as integral to future works.
  • The draft Strategy aims to build on existing volunteer models, strengthening the capacity of volunteers to provide ambulance services in country communities.
  • There is no intention to impede the work current volunteers do. Any changes to how volunteer ambulance officers are recruited and trained will recognise the significant skill and experience of the current volunteers. There will be a seamless transition for any changes to the training model, with communication provided as it progresses.
  • Strong policy protects people, paramedics and communities. It allows for the setting out of clear standards and expectations across all country areas.
  • The draft Strategy makes 19 recommendations under six major themes, one of which is policy development.
  • The draft Strategy also recommends improvements to communications and technology, more investment in community paramedics and improving consistency of timeliness. It also acknowledges WA’s ambulance volunteers and recommends boosting the numbers of community paramedics in communities where they are most needed.
  • We encourage feedback on the draft Strategy to ensure that we have captured all of the essential components required to make ambulance services in the country better. To provide feedback, click here.

The Country Ambulance Service is complex and varies from location to location. Some country areas have ambulance Sub Centres that can respond to more than 3000 calls each year, while others may respond to 10 calls per year. Having paramedics stationed in locations that don’t receive a high number of calls is not sustainable for the communities, or for the professional development of the paramedics.

The combination of community paramedics and volunteers working together is an essential partnership which requires further support and investment.

No. The Strategy is clear that policy, contracts and investment are the primary focus for improving the Country Ambulance Service.

WA Country Health Service and St John Ambulance have worked closely together for many decades to ensure that country communities have a high quality ambulance service. We continue to value the vital role of staff and volunteers, many of whom had input into the consultation through the 120 meetings held at 40 towns and through videoconferencing and email.

We will continue to work closely with St John Ambulance as we implement this Strategy to strengthen country ambulance services into the future.

A big focus of the Strategy is ensuring that the right services are provided both where they are needed and where community paramedics will be able to retain their skills and experience. WA Country Health Service will work closely with St John Ambulance to ensure that community paramedics are placed where they are most needed.

No. All Sub Centres are valuable to their communities. There are no plans to close any existing services. The Strategy contains recommendations on how to provide meaningful support to volunteers so that we can strengthen the Country Ambulance Service.

When the public consultation period closes on 10 December 2018, the Country Ambulance Strategy will be finalised and fully costed for consideration by the government.

WA Country Health will review the survey responses and submissions provided as part of the process of finalising the Country Ambulance Strategy. Having a community view on the future strategy is a key part of the process.

St John Ambulance WA welcome volunteers to support their ambulance service. You can find more details on their website here: https://changelives.stjohnwa.com.au/changelives/volunteer

For any technical issues with the survey please call 1800 35 77 39. For any other issues please contact CountryAmbulanceStrategy@health.wa.gov.au.

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When the public consultation period closes on 10 December 2018, the Country Ambulance Strategy will be finalised and fully costed for consideration by the government.

If you believe you are unable to make a submission via this site, please contact CountryAmbulanceStrategy@health.wa.gov.au to discuss alternative options.

Download the draft Strategy Summary:

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