Country Ambulance Service
St John Ambulance Western Australia covers the largest area of any single ambulance service in the world – 2,525,500 square kilometres or 33 per cent of the total landmass of Australia.
There are 160 St John Ambulance locations operating in country Western Australia, serviced by more than 3200 dedicated volunteer ambulance officers and 90 paramedics. These volunteers travel more than two million kilometres across country WA annually, transporting more than 64,000 people.
Ambulance Service Structure
St John Ambulance sub centres are responsible for the delivery of ambulance services in their community.
There are about 100 sub centre committees that manage operations on behalf of St John Ambulance Western Australia at full volunteer-run locations. In addition, there are 15 country sub centres with a mix of Volunteer Ambulance Officers and Career Paramedics working side-by-side.
St John Ambulance believes the Volunteer Model operating the country ambulance service, where the service is run by volunteers, is the most beneficial model for people living in country Western Australia as it ensures there is an ambulance service in most towns. If operational volunteers were not part of the service it is likely that only a handful of locations could afford to run a sustainable service based only on paid paramedic staff.
In larger country areas where population and ambulance call outs are high, career paramedics work alongside volunteer ambulance officers to provide the ambulance service. These locations are Albany, Australind, Broome, Bunbury, Busselton, Collie, Dawesville, Geraldton, Hedland, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Kununurra, Northam, Norseman and Pinjarra.
In all country areas, St John Ambulance provides the infrastructure to support an ambulance service for these communities. This includes assisting with the provision of ambulances, equipment, sub centres, adequate training for volunteers and support by regional managers.
St John Ambulance Western Australia recently invested heavily in developing support structures for its country network. During 2011, six regional offices were established each to be staffed by a Regional Manager and four coordinators. The role of the regional office is to provide operational and administrative support for all sub centres in the regions. In addition, a team of Community Paramedics has been deployed across the State to provide training, clinical and operational support for volunteer sub centres.