Commissioner Russell Bowles.
Commissioner Russell Bowles.

Wide Bay's need for QAS paramedics this year soars

DEMAND for the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) continues to grow, with the organisation experiencing its busiest period ever in the past 12 months.

The QAS responded to 44,210 code 1 and code 2 incidents across Wide Bay in the 2017/18 financial year - 2345 more incidents (5.6 per cent) than the year before.

According to Commissioner Russell Bowles, Code 1 and 2 incidents are regarded as the most serious cases QAS crews respond to.

"Some of the main categories of cases in Code 1 and Code 2 incidents include chest pain, breathing problems, falls, specific traumatic injuries and abdominal problems," he said.

"The main contributing factor to the record demand is a growing and ageing population and we've reacted to that by diversifying our response options and using technology to increase efficiencies in patient turnaround time."

Queensland Ambulance Service Paramedics.
Queensland Ambulance Service. David Nielsen

While cases of chest pain were among those the QAS responded to most often across the whole state in 2017/18 (77,000 incidents), fall incidents procured the most attention from paramedics in Wide Bay (4698).

The high number of falls in the region was up by 331 incidents compared to 2016/17 - a 7.58 per cent increase.

The second most common incidents QAS responded to in Wide Bay this year were chest pain incidents (4476), which saw a 7.26 per cent rise (303 more incidents) since the year before.

The incidents in Wide Bay which saw largest percentage increase this year compared to 2016/17 were drowning and near-drowning incidents.

30 drowning and near-drowning incidents were recorded this year - up by seven, or 30.43 per cent compared to 2016/17.

QAS responded to 1731 mental health issue incidents in Wide Bay in 2017/18 - 16.8 per cent increase (up 249 incidents) compared to 2016/17.

Child birth incidents in the region were down by 25 or 10.25 per cent, however, QAS still responded to 219 of these incidents.

The region's traffic and transportation incidents (1006) also saw a decrease, this time by 32 incidents (or 3.08 per cent).

The number of snake bite incidents (63) in Wide Bay increased by 12 (23.53 per cent).

To keep up with the increasing demand and Queensland's growing and ageing population, the QAS received a record budget of $800 million for 2018/19 and will be recruiting an extra 100 ambulance officers.