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Ambulance reforms are saving lives

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July 08, 2017

A record number of people are surviving cardiac arrest, largely thanks to recent reforms that are making more ambulances available for people in life-threatening emergencies.

Data shows that almost 7000 more Victorians are getting an emergency ambulance within 15 minutes because of Ambulance Victoria’s revised Clinical Response Model.

The review of the first three months of the model shows improved emergency response times across the board, with on-time call-outs increasing in all priority categories.

The review also found that survival for cardiac arrest patients in a shockable cardiac rhythm reached 37.4 per cent for the March quarter — the highest quarterly survival rate recorded in Victoria — while the proportion of Code 1 cases attended within 15 minutes improved significantly despite an increase in the number of 000 calls by almost 10000 during the review period.

The changes mean an estimated 50000 cases every year that would have received an emergency ambulance are now being correctly referred to an alternate health service or provided with self-care advice — freeing up ambulances to respond to Code 1 incidents at rates in line with worldwide best practice.

‘‘We have introduced evidence-based reforms to improve a system that was being overloaded with emergency ambulance responses to non-urgent cases,’’ Ambulance Victoria chief executive Tony Walker said.

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