Old fact plus new stat, revisit your Emergency Plans!

Old fact plus new stat, revisit your Emergency Plans!

Old Fact

It almost seems too obvious to say, but it is worth reiterating. There is always more patients than ambulances and aircraft! And usually by a lot more than we can envisage at any given time. Seems logical, right? But I often hear during first aid/emergency planning exercises ‘the ambulance/aircraft is only 45mins away‘ (as an example). It’s only 45 mins away if it is sitting at branch and the crew are not on a fatigue break. It’s the same with an aero-medical response. It only works to plan when they are on the tarmac and waiting.

So we know, that even when things are working well, there is a reasonable chance for a delayed response. So make sure you have an allowance for that in your response planning.

New Statistic

You don’t have to look too far in any states news cycle to know that the health system is under enormous pressure right now. And all modelling suggests that this pressure is not going to diminish anytime in the 2-3 years! So what does that mean to us who live and work in rural and remote environments?

The health system is like a traffic jam on a freeway. We have an incident at the head of the traffic jam, usually either a bottle neck in the distribution or potentially an accident causing blockages. Then more and more traffic feeds into the blockage than can be ‘outputted’ or fed out the other end.

At the moment, hospitals are at capacity, everywhere! More people coming in than are going out. And yet more and more patients than ever are still arriving at the hospitals. No where to go. So the traffic jam begins.

Photo: Triple M

I want to clear about this next point. This is not just a ‘city’ problem. Like traffic jams, who are the people who end up waiting the longest? Those that are furthest away from the source of the problem. In our case, as the resources bank up more and more in the cities and major regional centres the back-flow pushes further and further into the regional and remote areas. And these areas already have fewer resources. Ambulance waiting times blow out. There are fewer metro based ambulances to take the patients from regional ambulances and aircraft. And the traffic jam grows worse and worse.

We will undoubtedly be waiting longer for all medical retrieval services across all of Australia, but particularly in regional and remote areas!

Action step

Revisit your response plans and your equipment and make plans for much longer response times from medical services over the next 2-3 years. Revisit your training. Increase frequency of emergency response/first aid topics in your toolbox meetings. Settle in, it’s going to be a long couple of years in the emergency sector. Hint: Go easy on on your emergency response personnel when they arrive. It’s not their fault they have been delayed and they already exhausted. All of them!

If you would like more information about this topic, ideas for Toolbox meetings or any other topics, purchase any First Aid stock or equipment, or to book a Remote Area First Aid course, please contact us on 0491 057 339 or email info@ruralandremotefirstaid.com.au

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