Ambulance Victoria (AV), a Victorian agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, is the statutory provider of pre-hospital emergency care and ambulance services in Victoria. Ambulance Victoria was formed on 1 July 2008 with the merger of the Metropolitan Ambulance Service (MAS), Rural Ambulance Victoria (RAV), and the Alexandra District Ambulance Service (ADAS). Ambulance Victoria has undergone significant reform since 2008.
|Formed||1 July 2008|
|Annual budget||A$810.9 million (2015–2016)|
|Parent agency||Department of Health and Human Services|
Ambulance Victoria provides emergency medical response to more than 5.9 million people in an area of more than 227,000 square kilometres. During 2015-2016, Ambulance Victoria responded to 843,051 cases.
The service is funded by fees for the cost of transport and treatment by paramedics. Members are entitled to free services. Some private health funds may refund the cost of membership, but many do not. Ambulance fees are not recoverable from Medicare or health funds.
A formal ambulance service began in Victoria in 1883. Over the years services were provided by St John Ambulance, Civil Ambulance Service and a multitude local area ambulance services.
In the 1980s the Metropolitan Ambulance Service was formed from a number of smaller area services; and 16 regional services were amalgamated into five. In 1997, the rural services were consolidated to one rural service, Rural Ambulance Victoria.
On 22 April 2008, Premier John Brumby and Health Minister Daniel Andrews announced a record funding boost of over $185m, including two new helicopter services, 26 new ambulance stations and over 300 new paramedics. In addition, it was announced that the way the state's ambulance services work was to be changed with Metropolitan Ambulance Service and Rural Ambulance Victoria becoming one organisation, Ambulance Victoria. On 26 May this decision was confirmed, with the consolidated service commencing operation on 1 July 2008.
Ambulance Victoria is required under the Ambulance Services Act 1986 (Vic) to respond rapidly to requests for help in a medical emergency; provide specialised medical skills to maintain life and to reduce injuries in emergency situations and while transporting patients; provide specialised transport facilities to move people requiring emergency medical treatment; provide services for which specialised medical or transport skills are necessary and foster public education in first aid.
Ambulance Victoria's primary function is to respond to emergency incidents and its secondary function is medical transport (non-emergency) requests. Emergency Incidents are responded to by paramedics, Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedics, Air Ambulance paramedics and if in a regional area also by Ambulance Community Officers (ACO) employed on a casual basis and volunteer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) or by Remote Area Nurse (RAN) from a bush hospital. Ambulance Victoria has more than 260 ambulance branches located across Victoria.
In the same year, Ambulance Victoria responded to 843,051 emergency and non-emergency cases including 172,960 emergency road incidents in the five rural regions, 416,887 emergency road incidents in the two metropolitan regions and 4,556 emergency air incidents (2,033 by helicopter and 2,523 by plane).
Ambulance Victoria assesses each emergency incident on receipt of the 000 call, designating the incident a code depending on the urgency/severity, and publishes its response times for each quarter of the year on the internet.
Ambulance Victoria operates a Bicycle Response Unit in pre-planned operations for public events in Melbourne with large crowds. The unit was established in the lead up to the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
In 2012, a Paramedic Motorcycle Unit was trialled in inner city Melbourne operating two Piaggio MP3 three wheeled motorbikes. The trial was successful with the BMW F700GS motorcycle selected to be the unit's motorcycle to operate in the inner Melbourne area mainly in the councils of City of Melbourne and City of Port Phillip.
Ambulance Victoria's emergency and non-emergency patient transport communications are handled by Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) communication centres in East Burwood and Ballarat.
Ambulance communications functions include 000 Emergency call-taking, non-emergency patient transport requests, and ambulance dispatch for emergency and non-emergency vehicles. Modern emergency services communications is highly advanced, and communications staff use a wide range of technologies including digital and analogue radio, telephones, pagers, and advanced computer and GPS systems. Many emergency services vehicles, including ambulances, are fitted with mobile data terminals that enable them to view information, read messages sent by call-takers and dispatchers, and be notified of updates immediately as they become available. A number of communication services used by Ambulance Victoria, such as digital radio and mobile data terminals, are not available outside metropolitan Melbourne.
- Mercedes 318 Sprinter (Rural areas only)
- Mercedes 316 Sprinter (old edition slowly being phased out, new edition being phased in)
- Mercedes 416 Sprinter (Support, Bariatric and other specialised units)
- Iveco ACCO Medium Truck (Command and Communications Vehicle)
- Ford Territory (Single responder/MICA Single responder)
- Toyota Kluger (Single Responder/Team managers)
- Volkswagen Amarok (MICA Single responder)
- Volkswagen Transporter (MICA Single Responder/Health Commander)
- BMW F700GS motorcycles (Paramedic Motorcycle Unit)
- Honda Odyssey (Medical transport for walking patients)
- Isuzu 400 series (tow trucks)
Air Ambulance Victoria
Ambulance Victoria has a fleet of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft operated by Air Ambulance Victoria (AAV) based out of Essendon Airport in Melbourne with helicopters strategically placed in regional Victoria. In addition, the helicopters respond to search and rescue incidents, able to utilise the winch, including sea rescues.
AAV operates five twin engine AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters provided by Babcock Mission Critical Services Australasia. The helicopters were introduced from 2016 to replace the four Bell 412EP helicopters and also one Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin helicopter that had been operated in partnership with the Victoria Police Air Wing.
- HEMS 1 based at Essendon Airport.
- HEMS 2 based at La Trobe Valley Airport.
- HEMS 3 based at Bendigo Airport.
- HEMS 4 based at Warrnambool Airport.
- HEMS 5 is for primary response and specialist medical retrieval based at Essendon Airport.
Helicopter operations commenced in 1970 with a Bell 206A JetRanger known as the 'Angel of Mercy' based on the Mornington Peninsula operated from Tyabb Airport. In 1980, a Hughes 500D was operated in the La Trobe Valley, later a Bell 206 Long Ranger and from 1985 a Bell 412 known as Helimed 1 later renamed to HEMS 2. In 1986, AAV entered a partnership with the Victoria Police Air Wing to use a Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin which would respond to both police and ambulance incidents with ambulance given priority known as HEMS 1 and replacing the 'Angel of Mercy'. Two helicopters were configured for the aeromedical role with one as a spare. In 2001, a Bell 412EP was operated from Bendigo airport known as HEMS 3. In 2009, a Bell 412EP was operated from Warrnambool Airport known as HEMS 4 and a second Bell 412EP was operated from Essendon known as HEMS 5 to transport critically ill patients from rural hospitals to Melbourne. In January 2017, the final of the five new AgustaWestland AW139s entered service replacing the Victoria Police Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin and ending the partnership. The aircraft are staffed by MICA Flight Paramedics who are trained to administer blood, conduct ultrasounds, complete complex procedures and perform winch rescues.
AAV has operated four Beechcraft Super King Air B200s, provided by Pel-Air Aviation, from its Essendon headquarters since 2011 and can reach most of Victoria within an hour. They are used mainly for transporting patients from rural towns to the major hospitals in Melbourne and can carry two stretcher patients and two walking patients. This service includes bringing people to Melbourne for regular treatments such as oncology and dialysis while also facilitating acute medical conditions requiring surgery or the transfer of injured patients from rural hospitals to specialist care. The service now reaches to more than 86 towns within Victoria while also servicing southern New South Wales, northern Tasmania and some parts of South Australia. The aircraft are typically staffed by ALS Flight Paramedics.
- Ambulance Victoria. "Annual Report 2015-2016" (PDF). Retrieved 10 December 2016. Cite journal requires
- "Minister for Ambulance Services". Victorian Government Directory. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
- "Tony Walker appointed as CEO". Ambulance Victoria. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "Vic ambulance services to be merged". ABC News. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "450 New Paramedics On The Road To Put People First" (Press release). Premier of Victoria. 27 November 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "$185.7 million boost to Victorian Ambulance Services" (Press release). Department of Human Services. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "Ambulance Victoria to lead the way" (Press release). Department of Human Services. 26 May 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "Ambulance Victoria new statewide ambulance service" (Press release). Rural Ambulance Victoria. 3 July 2008. Archived from the original on 27 March 2011.
- "Ambulance Services Act 1986 (Victoria)". Austlii.
- "Types of Paramedics". Ambulance Victoria. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "We Love Our Volunteers". Ambulance Victoria. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "Remote Area Nurse Training". Rural Ambulance Victoria. Archived from the original on 27 March 2011.
- Ambulance Performance and Policy Consultative Committee (December 2015). "Victoria's Ambulance Action Plan - Improving Services, Saving Lives - Final Report". Department of Health and Human Services, Victorian Government. Retrieved 10 December 2016. Cite journal requires
- "Branches". Ambulance Victoria. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012.
- "Our Performance – Ambulance Victoria". ambulance.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- "Bicycle Response Units". Ambulance Victoria. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015.
- "Bicycle Response Unit". Metropolitan Ambulance Service. Archived from the original on 22 July 2008.
- O'Connell, Brigid (1 December 2012). "Motorcycle ambulances provide a rough ride for paramedics". Herald Sun. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- van den Berg, Lucie (3 January 2013). "Ambulance Victoria motorbikes taken off the road following crash as brakes failed". Herald Sun. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "Victoria's first Motorcycle Paramedic Unit" (Press release). Department of Health & Human Services. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- Rolfe, Peter (30 October 2011). "Motorbike medics to hit the streets". Herald Sun. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "Our Paramedic Motorcycle Unit in action". Ambulance Victoria. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- Paul Riley (8 July 2013), "Ambulance Victoria to use BMW F700GS for emergency response", Observations of a Perpetual Motorcyclist (blog), Skill Master Motorcycle Services, archived from the original on 19 July 2013, retrieved 10 December 2016
- "Computer Aided Dispatch". Metropolitan Ambulance Service. Archived from the original on 13 June 2009.
- "Resource Management". Metropolitan Ambulance Service. Archived from the original on 22 July 2008.
- "Ambulance Stretcher Vehicles". Ambulance Victoria. Archived from the original on 29 February 2016.
- "Ambulance Single Response Units (SRU)". Ambulance Victoria. Archived from the original on 12 March 2016.
- "Emergency management vehicles". Metropolitian Ambulance Service. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009.
- "Australian Helicopters awarded new Vic air ambulance contract". Australian Aviation. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "Delivering solutions for Ambulance Victoria". Babcock Australasia. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
- "LCI Helicopters to Lease Six AW139s to Australian Helicopter". LCI (Press release). 26 February 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
- Minister for Ambulance Services (29 July 2015). "New Air Ambulance Helicopter On Show". Premier of Victoria (Press release). Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "Air Ambulance Helicopters". Ambulance Victoria. Archived from the original on 29 February 2016.
- "Angel of Mercy". Colac Ambulance. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "HEMS 2". Colac Ambulance. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "HEMS 1". Colac Ambulance. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "HEMS 3". Ambulance Victoria. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "HEMS 4". Colac Ambulance. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "HEMS 5". Colac Ambulance. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "New era on the horizon for Air Ambulance". Ambulance Victoria (Press release). 13 January 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
- "First female MICA Flight Paramedics qualify with Ambulance Victoria". Ambulance Victoria (Press release). 3 May 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
- "Fixed Wing Aircraft fleet ticks over 40,000 flying hours". Ambulance Victoria (Press release). 7 May 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
- "Pel-Air contract extension with Ambulance Victoria" (PDF). Regional Express (Press release). 24 June 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- "Victorias new air ambulance planes set to take off". Department of Health & Human Services (Press release). 16 June 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
- "Air Ambulances". Ambulance Victoria. Archived from the original on 29 February 2016.
- "Air Ambulance". Ambulance Victoria. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ambulance Victoria.|