We recognise the key role the New South Wales Ambulance Service (NSWA) provides within Primary Health Care and as a result, as of May 2016 HNECC became the first PHN in Australia to have a dedicated Qualified Paramedic as an Ambulance Liaison Officer (ALO). This new resource works with the PHN, New South Wales Ambulance and external stakeholders on initiatives and programs to streamline and improve communication, with the overall aim of improved patient centered care by ensuring the right care, at the right time, at the right place, every time.
What the ALO aims to achieve
The ALO aims to further enhance primary health care throughout the HNECC by developing better links between paramedics and General Practice.
By enabling Paramedics who already have an advanced level of underpinning clinical knowledge, advanced skills and assessment capability to deliver non-ED appropriate care options such as referring and transporting identified low acuity patients to their regular GP or out-of-hours deputising service. It allows joint decision making between the paramedic, patient and GP to potentially divert patients to General Practice and ultimately help to free up busy emergency departments throughout the regions.
The ALO has also collaborated with NSWA to adapt their Ambulance Care Plans, into General Practice templates to improve the care of palliative and chronic and complex disease patients.
Benefits for Primary Care Workforce and Community
For the GP, this collaboration reinforces the specialist role GPs have as a patient’s primary health care provider, and enables them to provide that ‘continuity of care’. It also promotes more connected primary health care in the community.
For the consumer, this collaboration contributes towards care pathways and models of care that aim to avoid of transfer to hospital for treatment, where it is more appropriate for people to be treated by their regular GP. This is recognising that a patient’s regular GP has a strong familiarity with their medical history and is able to provide effective and ongoing health care. It is also likely to save patient’s time by not having to wait in the emergency department. Increased patient satisfaction is expected as a result of these points.
For the community, there has been an increasing demand on emergency ambulance resources to attend Triple Zero (000) cases where the patient is considered to have a low acuity medical or minor injury presentation suitable for out of hospital care. Previously, in the absence of formalised referral arrangements, paramedics have been required to transport patients to the hospital Emergency Department (ED) despite recognising that this may not be the most appropriate care destination for the patient. This roles works to ultimately ease the pressure on busy Emergency Departments throughout the regions by creating options for the most appropriate follow-up care and treatment of patients.
If you would like to contact the ALO to know any further information or discuss future opportunities please contact the ALO email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 859 028