09/11/2009 - 15:42

State Govt injects $1m into St John

09/11/2009 - 15:42

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The state government will immediately provide the St John Ambulance Service WA (SJA) with more than $1 million in funding following the recommendations of the independent inquiry into the safety and quality of SJA's clinical practices released today.

The state government will immediately provide the St John Ambulance Service WA (SJA) with more than $1 million in funding following the recommendations of the independent inquiry into the safety and quality of SJA's clinical practices released today.

Health Minister Kim Hames said the $1.028 million funding would provide for the service's immediate needs as identified in the inquiry report including the employment of 10 more call centre operators, 26 patient transport officers and a paramedic in Karratha before the end of this fiscal year.

"The report has endorsed the continuation of the existing service model - the provision of emergency ambulance services by an external provider - however, it also makes it clear there are a number of areas where improvements must be made," Mr Hames said in a statement.

The investigation examined systems and processes within the ambulance service and the report's 13 recommendations are intended to strengthen SJA's capacity and improve safety and quality for patients. 

The recommendations cover issues related to the communication centre, clinical governance, staffing and continuing education. 

Dr Hames said the Department of Health would immediately begin developing a business case evaluating the funds required to address the report's other recommendations relating to additional expenditure. 

The Minister said the report was commissioned in July to investigate the root causes of the tragic death of four patients highlighted by the ABC's Four Corners program and present recommendations to improve clinical practices. 

"On behalf of the State Government, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the families of the deceased patients for their co-operation with the inquiry," he said. 

The St John Ambulance Service WA provided emergency ambulance services to 180,000 patients last year and the inquiry found that it performed very well in comparison to services in other States. 

The need for additional ambulance services in country areas will be the subject of further assessment, as will the feasibility of introducing structured call taking in the SJA communication centre.

 

 

Full announcement below:

 

Mon 09 November, 2009

Release of report into St John Ambulance Service
Portfolio: Health

The State Government will provide an immediate funding injection of $1.028million to in response to the recommendations of the independent inquiry into the safety and quality of SJA's clinical practices.

Health Minister Kim Hames said the funding would provide for the service's immediate needs as identified in the inquiry report, released today.

"Western Australians can be assured they have a strong, high-quality ambulance service in place," Dr Hames said.

"The report has endorsed the continuation of the existing service model - the provision of emergency ambulance services by an external provider - however, it also makes it clear there are a number of areas where improvements must be made.

"This additional money will allow SJA to employ 10 more call centre operators, 26 patient transport officers and a paramedic in Karratha during the remainder of the current financial year.

"This will boost capacity at SJA and improve the safety and quality of services provided to the WA community."

The Minister said the report was commissioned in July to investigate the root causes of the tragic death of four patients highlighted by the ABC's Four Corners program and present recommendations to improve clinical practices. 

"On behalf of the State Government, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the families of the deceased patients for their co-operation with the inquiry," he said. 

"I would also like to thank the review chairman, Greg Joyce, and all those who have contributed to this independent review." 

The investigation examined systems and processes within the ambulance service and the report's 13 recommendations are intended to strengthen SJA's capacity and improve safety and quality for patients. 

The recommendations cover issues related to the communication centre, clinical governance, staffing and continuing education. 

Dr Hames said the Department of Health would immediately begin developing a business case evaluating the funds required to address the report's other recommendations relating to additional expenditure. 

"It is absolutely essential that we get our response to this inquiry right," he said. 

"The State Budget process will allow the Government to make a measured assessment of how we can deliver maximum improvements in the ambulance service in the context of our broader long-term health funding decisions." 

The St John Ambulance Service WA provided emergency ambulance services to 180,000 patients last year and the inquiry found that it performed very well in comparison to services in other States. 

The need for additional ambulance services in country areas will be the subject of further assessment, as will the feasibility of introducing structured call taking in the SJA communication centre.

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