Chief Executive Officer of Ambulance Victoria, Associate Professor Tony Walker ASM was introduced by Julie Collette.

His comprehensive description of the history and services provided by Ambulance Victoria was informative and entertaining.

 

Professor Walker started by describing how most people have an unplanned first encounter with Ambulance Victoria. In addition to ambulances, they have 260 response locations, with 6,000 staff and volunteers, with 5 helicopters and 6 fixed-wing aircraft., serving over one million incidents per year. There are branches all over Victoria, with many small rural ambulance stations being founded with local donations.

When 000 is called, one of a team of 80 paramedics identifies the needs of the caller and the appropriate response is activated. This allows non-urgent cases to be properly attended, avoiding un-necessary hospitalisations. The system allows better allocation of intensive care services to save more lives. 

Specialist services for stroke and cardiac arrest cases are allocated so intensive care is applied before patients arrive at the appropriate specialised centres.

Tony described how the assistance of members of the public and positioning of defibrillators has raised the survival rate in cardiac arrest from 11% to 41%. This produces some of the best outcomes in the world.

In describing their Goal and Vision, Tony described Ambulance Victoria’s diverse workforce and the mental health care for workers and volunteers, sustainability and their care of the environment.

However Covid 19 has had a large impact on the service, with increased demands and more pressure on the workers. 

 

Questions from the audience elicited that Ambulance Victoria now have hybrid ambulances, and that a system of changing crews has freed up ambulances from being “ blocked in” at hospitals.

While Ambulance Victoria has plenty of recruits, with only 3% attrition, and occasional harassment of officers still occasionally occurs.

Membership of Ambulance Victoria assists in meeting the cost of the service, but is not widely advertised. 

 

Julie Collette thanked Tony for his enlightening presentation. 

 

 

Tony Walker ASM is Chief Executive Officer of Ambulance Victoria. He is a Registered Paramedic with over thirty-five years’ experience working in a range of senior clinical, operational and leadership roles within the ambulance sector. 

Over the past six years Tony has led significant transformation at Ambulance Victoria to improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce and the response they provide to the community.  He holds an adjunct appointment as Associate Professor in the College of Health and Biomedicine at Victoria University and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Paramedicine and a Board Director of the Emergency Services Foundation, the Australasian Council of Ambulance Authorities and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Tony is a recipient of the Ambulance Service Medal (ASM) for his contribution to the development of ambulance services at a state and national level and has also been awarded the Australian Resuscitation Council Medal for his significant contributions to improving resuscitation practice and outcomes. Tony was also a finalist for the Australian Mental Health Prize in 2019 in recognition of his work in improving paramedic mental health and wellbeing.