A NEW initiative to reduce the growing burden on Ipswich Hospital's emergency department has been rolled out.
Two new vans, along with five more paramedics, have been added to Ipswich Ambulance Station fleet to respond to less urgent 000 calls, as determined by the operator.
Instead of sending a fully equipped ambulance to calls for cases such as minor burns, fall-related injuries and minor medical problems that could potentially be treated by paramedics, one of these vans will be sent and patients will likely avoid having to go to hospital.
Paramedics can choose to take the patient to the emergency department after an assessment, but could also refer them to a GP, or the closest health clinic.
It's a relief for an area were ambulance ramping has been raised by paramedics as a major issue, putting lives at risk, at Ipswich Hospital, particularly in the second half of 2016.
Paramedics and ambulances are waiting hours for non-urgent patients to be admitted to the hospital.
This program will likely reduce the number of people waiting in emergency departments, and potentially paramedics waiting with them; that means less ambulances parked in the emergency department.
The rollout of the vans, nicknamed LARU, represents a $740,000 investment and increases the amount of hours paramedics can be on the road in Ipswich by 150 hours every week; a resources boost Ipswich needs to keep up with demand.
In the 12 months between January 2016 and January 2017 there has been an increase of 9.48 per cent in calls for ambulances.
Health Minister Cameron Dick officially announced the program at Ipswich Ambulance Station yesterday, however, side stepped the topic of ramping.
"What (the program) will do is take pressure off our public hospital system," Minister Dick said when asked if the initiative was targeting the issue.
The Low Acuity Response Unit program has already been rolled out in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Cairns, and will continue to be rolled out across the state.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.