A unique pilot program providing emergency and public health care in rural South Australia has been extended.
SA Ambulance Service and Country Heath SA Local Health Network have joined forces with the Country SA PHN to fund five community paramedics based in Ceduna and Robe.
Community paramedics operate as part of the local health services, support preventative care initiatives and provide clinical support to ambulance crews.
The Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade said the $862,000 per year program has been extended until the end of 2019 following a trial period, which was due to come to an end on 30 September 2018.
“This program is a fantastic partnership between SA Ambulance Service, Country Health SA and Country SA Primary Health Network (PHN) and is testament to what can be achieved by working together,” Mr Wade said.
“The program is designed to connect local patients to the most suitable community health care option for their unique circumstances, while also ensuring these small communities have access to emergency treatment when required.”
Country SA PHN, Chief Executive Officer, Kim Hosking said community paramedics provide preventative health screening, pre-hospital health care and education tailored to the needs of local communities.
“In collaboration with the patient’s GP, community paramedics will continue to focus on treating patients in their own homes to prevent medical conditions from developing into situations that require urgent medical attention,” Mr Hosking said.
SA Ambulance Service Interim Chief Executive Officer, David Place said today’s agreement would be welcome news for the five community paramedics, as well as the local community.
“We have five intensive care paramedics already living in the community. They have built some fantastic relationships and are working closely with local health care professionals to coordinate community care options that link vulnerable people living in the community with appropriate care teams,” Mr Place said.
Country Health SA LHN, Chief Executive Officer, Maree Geraghty said Country Health SA was delighted to continue supporting this unique program.
“We are delighted to support this program, which aims to enhance local health service delivery to improve the health of residents living in regional communities in South Australia,” Ms Geraghty said.
“The program is designed to be flexible so that care can be tailored within the local context and increase the number of patients connected to the most suitable community health care option for their unique circumstances,” she said.
The 15-month funding extension ensures continuity for the Ceduna and Robe communities as the governance of SA Health shifts to health board governance.
Last night, at a community forum in Robe, Nick McBride, Member for McKillop, read out a statement from Minister Wade on the extension of the community paramedic program.