Is your emergency really an emergency?...
In 2016-17 Australian ambulance services attended 3.5 million incidents. Of these, only 1.1 million, or approximately 37%, were classified as EMERGENCIES.
Consider this Canberra...
A loved one has a sudden cardiac arrest at home...
It could be your husband... your wife... your mother... your father... your brother... your sister... or perhaps your own child.
You've done first aid training, and you know what needs to happen...
You check their breathing... they are not breathing normally...
You call 000...
You start chest compressions... and you pray that the ambulance gets there as quickly as possibly.
You remember your first aid instructor telling you that ambulances usually arrive within 8-10 mins... "god, it feels like a lifetime".
You hear sirens coming... when the first emergency services arrive, four firefighters enter your living room "why are they here? I called for an ambulance! has there been a mistake?"
No there hasn't... there are just no ambulances to assist you. They are 'bed blocked' at the hospital, waiting to offload other patients.
The firefighters take over CPR... they do their best... but they're not paramedics... Every minute you wait for Early Advanced Care to arrive, you know the chances of your loved one surviving are slipping away. "What on earth has happened?"... "Why is one of the best healthcare systems in the world failing me now?"
Far too often emergency services are called for 'non-emergencies'. Talk to anyone who has ever worked in an emergency services call centre, and the examples will be endless... paramedics being called to someone with a sore throat, common cold, blocked noses, or they have an eyelash stuck in their eye ... firefighters being called because a someones tap won't stop leaking, or to help someone get a huntsman spider out of their bedroom. TRUE STORIES!!! I read an Australian Federal Police Facebook post the other day that said someone called 000 because they didn't have a babysitter to look after their kids!
The results of these 'nuisance calls' can be catastrophic for someone who is experiencing a genuine emergency.
If it is NOT an emergency, you will NOT be seen in the emergency department any quicker if you arrive by ambulance. ALL arriving patients are Triaged and seen in order of medical priority.
Canberra's ambulance service is already overrun a lot of the time... I've seen it first hand, at The Canberra Hospital emergency department... sometimes three or four ambulances all parked outside, waiting to offload their casualties before they can get back on the road.
There are usually a minimum of 8 ambulances on the road at any time in Canberra. So if there are three ambulances at The Canberra Hospital, two at Calvary, that only leaves three to cover the entire ACT. It's no wonder the lives of our loved ones are being left in the care of firefighter's trying to do the work of the paramedics. Certainly not the paramedics fault... Certainly not the firefighters fault... But our emergency services often can't provide us the level of care we expect and need. They just simply don't have the resources.
What is even scarier is that the ACT Emergency Services Agency recently did away with ambulance minimum crewing requirements. This means that if they are short staffed, there could be even fewer ambulances on the road!
Combine this with your 'average Joe's' calling 000 because they 'stubbed their toe', or 'need help going to the toilet', and consider that in a life threatening emergency, you could be left waiting.
Canberra, please be smart. Don't cost someone else's life... only call 000 if you have a genuine emergency!
Have a read of the attached article. It's got some great info on the Do's and Don'ts of calling for an ambulance, and information on what to expect when you have to make that call.
Be Somebody's Hero.