Better clinical advice for 111 calls

  • Tony Ryall

Top paramedics are now providing expert emergency clinical advice in Ambulance Communications Centres and helping to save more lives, says Health Minister Tony Ryall.

The Minister today visited Wellington’s new clinical desk at the combined St John and Wellington Free Ambulance Communications Centre and found out for himself how the new paramedics will support 111 call takers, dispatchers and front line staff.

“The National Government has invested over $1 million to establish and run the clinical desks. This funding is in addition to the $160 million ambulance services will receive this financial year from the Ministry of Health and ACC,” Mr Ryall says.

Three clinical desks staffed by paramedics who are qualified at the highest level – advanced life support – have been established in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch this year. The Auckland clinical desk began its service in February and the Wellington and Christchurch desks in July.

“Our ambulance staff now have immediate access to clinical advice and support while they work quickly to provide emergency care to patients. The desks will ensure each patient gets the most appropriate emergency care and will help save more lives.

“It’s great to hear that ambulance staff have been very receptive to this service and are frequently using the paramedics to help enhance dispatching, particularly in times of heavy workload.

“For example, in the event of a disaster, such as the Christchurch earthquake, the clinical support desk will play a vital role in ensuring the best possible use of resources to help save as many lives as possible.

“I would like to thank representatives from the Ambulance New Zealand, Wellington Free Ambulance, St John, the air ambulance sector and National Ambulance Sector Office who have all contributed to the establishment of these desks.”

The initiative is part of the National Ambulance Services Strategy which was released in June 2009.

Photograph of Health Minister Tony Ryall with Advanced Life Support Paramedic Callum Thirkell discussing the new clinical desk.

Ambulance Communications Centre